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Mar 21 2006

A Day In The Life

My last day at chemo was, until the end, like all the other days at chemo. I slouched in my barcalounger, they stabbed me with a 1″ needle in the bottlecap-sized subcutaneous catheter surgically implanted for this purpose (yes, it hurts), and they proceeded, over the next five hours, to dump several quarts of toxic emulsions into me. My sister Tidy arrived, as she has done without fail since my very first infusion, with Starbucks and copies of People and Texas Monthly and the Monday Austin American-Statesman, which we utilize chiefly for the crossword. Many say Tidy deserves a medal for her undying devotion through my entire treatment, but we both know she was just using me to get away from her kids for the day.

Stingray eventually showed up with a celebratory bag of cheddar-flavored Goldfish, and we made her take pictures. Here Tidy and I display examples of the lofty reading material that sustained us for the duration of the last four months’ ordeal. Certain Americans sure seem to have a strange obession with celebrity death and cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer. Last week People had Sheryl Crow on the cover because a) Lance Armstrong dumped her and b) she’d just come down with Cancer. The one I read yesterday had a totally dead celebrity on the cover. “Her Final Days”—an exlusive!— was about the celebrity’s death from—what else?—Cancer. She was a celebrity because before she died she was married to another dead celebrity before he died. I also learned which celebrities are having babies, and that Jessica Simpson is the most popular girl in the universe, although 79% of People readers think her ex-husband deserves to score heavily in the divorce settlement “after what she put him through for 3 years.”

My crack team of infusion nurses present me with a “diploma” and throw a bunch of confetti on me for what’s known as “chemo graduation.” Thanks, girls!

After graduation I shopped around for an Airstream, but the closest one is in some hick town east of Dallas, so I’ll have to wait for a test drive until this last chemo wears off to the extent that I can take a road trip. Thusly foiled, I decided to utilize my fancy-free lighthearted steroid-induced end-of-chemo euphoria to walk my dogs.

At the point the furthest from the Twisty Compound our party was attacked by some asshole’s loose untrained dog. Somehow, during the ensuing scuffle, I was knocked down by an unexpected sideways bonk to the knee. The asshole tried to corral his dog by yelling “Thibedeau! Thibedeau!” at which point poor Thibedeau ran like hell in the opposite direction. The unfortunate fugitive was finally apprehended, and the asshole of course began delivering unto him a series of blows, apparently to ensure that in future old Thibedeau would never, ever come when called. “For chrissake don’t hit him!” I screamed from my crumpled position in the middle of the street, “he’s just a dog!”

Once the asshole was finished abusing his reluctant companion, he pulled the knurled Twisty physique off the pavement and asked if I was OK. I glared at him, and, taking a page from Thibedeau’s book, hobbled away on my rapidly swelling appendage with all speed, by which I mean really slowly. Tidy, who in her pre-motherhood days had been an athletic trainer, was called upon to bring expertise and Ace bandages and those Latin words she always uses to describe the nature of my injury. I had sustained a latero-lumpular sprain of the left pygmalion. Or something like that. “Ice it for 20 minutes every hour,” she prescribed, and then dashed off to a movie.

I did not let this setback prevent me from joining Stingray for dinner at Fino, where we drank champagne and ate this tiramisu with white chocolate and a poached pear and espresso syrup. Note to patrons of Fino who have sprained knees: there is an elevator, a fact I discovered only after I’d gimped up the double flight of steps.

But, hey, all you fucktards with loose untrained dogs! You are all roach-fucking needle-dicks!

Addendum: It turns out that I Blame The Patriarchy is a finalist for the Best New Blog Koufax. Spread the Blame!

61 comments

  1. Ron Sullivan

    OH. That’s a poached pear, not Thibodeaux’ owner’s barbecued scrotum. Well, I’m sure it was tasty anyway.

    Still taking the steroids, I hope. They might take the edge off the knee pain. Cripes, though.

  2. Viveth

    Congratulations!

    http://www.viveth.com/images/grandmothers_airstream.jpg
    (it still boasts the same uphostery and curtains as the day my grandparents bought it in 1969).

    This morning I was chased into my house by a loose untrained dog whom I apparently offended by standing on my front porch. No owner in sight anywhere on the street. It makes me sad, but I can’t call animal control because the only one that will suffer is the dog. Why can’t they come pick up the owners and put them in a cage instead?

  3. schatze

    I am happy for you seeing the end of Chemo. For all the talk of cancer, celebrity or not, I am unfamiliar with the actual intricacies of treatment. Five hours each time must be hell. IVs alone, even for short periods, irritate me no end.
    As for the tiramisu, I made my first one just this weekend and although I can barely remember trying it once and not caring for it, this one was a winner. I will have to rethink my ban on tiramisu and chalk up the avoidance to some bad mascarpone, man.
    Now for the dog, I suppose named after the town in Louisiana, There is a rule of thumb about dog training. You have to be smarter than the dog.

  4. Cass

    Welcome back, my love, to the world of people with only manageable levels of toxins coursing through their bodies!!

  5. travelling punk

    Woo hoo!
    Go get that airstream.

  6. CafeSiren

    Wait, I’m confused: is the thing that the poached pear is reclining on some weird form of tiramisu? (I thought, at first glance, that it looked like mashed potatoes) Or is the tiramisu not pictured — perhaps actually taking the picture of the pear?

  7. Amber

    Ouch. Hope the knee feels better.

    I hate irresponsible dog owners. The other day I was coming out my front door to walk my dog, and there are not one but two large dogs right there on my front porch, just chillin and very much looking like they thought my boston terrier was a tasty, 19 lb. Oreo cookie. Not cool.

    Hooray for the end of chemo. Fuck cancer, seriously. I’m glad you’re beating it.

  8. greymatters

    Congratulations on your graduation!

    And I am off to keep stuffing the ballot box over at Wampum. Hey, if it works for the RFT ;-). Seriously, good luck with the Koufax. Ya have my vote.

  9. wheelomatic

    My brother went away to the Navy when I was but an 8 year old lass. He sent me a charm bracelet with mementos of his travels. But the bestest gift he EVER gave me was the phrase: “Needle-dick, the bug-fucker.” Bestest EVER. Has been used to great effect many many times.

    Hurrah for end o’ the chemo. Tip of the hat to Tidy for sisterly ministrations of all kinds.

    On to cross country blaming.

  10. greymatters

    Where did that smiley come from? I repudiate the knowing smiley wink. So much for my subtle knowing wink.

    Carry on. I simply could not let the smiley stand.

  11. Twisty

    I don’t know why WordPress inserts these smileys, but my suspicion is that the user (i.e. you) is employing emoticons which the software reads as disembodied yellow heads. My advice is this: give up the emoticon altogether. What are we, Sumerians?

  12. firefly

    Congrats on the last chemo. May the only toxins you ingest in the future come in a bottle or can.

  13. Jodie

    I have such incredible longing to go touring the country in an airstream now that I spent all yesterday afternoon looking at plans for teardrop trailers (the only affordable way I could do that) instead of working…

  14. norbizness

    I think you’re up for Best Writing, as well. Take that mouthy Chris Clarke bastard down!

  15. Tapetum

    Yeah, WordPress interprets certain combinations of symbols as emoticons, and will not be told otherwise. If you follow an 8 with a ) for instance, it will be a smiley with sunglasses, even if you’re just making an aside about a number. Very annoying.

    Congratulations on the end of chemo!

    I loathe irresponsible dog owners. I can’t take my (leashed, child-adoring, well-behaved) dog anywhere near my son’s school because some asshole last year consistently showed up with his dog trailing along behind him and leaping on every kid in sight. About a half-dozen kids were completely traumatized, and still shriek and shrink away at the mere sight of a dog.

  16. Res Publica

    What are we, Sumerians?

    Maybe!

    Seriously, just wanted to say congrats on finishing chemo. May you be done with all that crap forever.

    Also, fuck people who hit their dogs. I hate that shit so much. It’s a DOG for christsakes! I mean, if you mess with your cat, your cat with tear your throat out in your sleep. Dogs get their FEELINGS hurt. Dogs LOVE you (I know, I read that, don’t start). I’ve always thought that anyone who would beat a dog would surely beat a child.

    I’ll be happily casting my vote for this here weblog as “best new blog”, especially since my own nominated web-shack didn’t make it to the finals (due to it being not only not the “best new blog”, but possibly the “worst new blog”). I hope you crush your fellow finalists with the brutal fist of victory! Or something!

    Finally, good LORD that is a fine-looking pear. I hope it was as tasty as it is lovely.

  17. Luckynkl

    Congratulations, Twisty, on your “graduation.” I’ve been wondering for awhile now what kind of cancer you were waging war on that obviously has been no match for your amazonian wit.

    2 years ago I waged war on breast cancer with a gf. She was new to the area and had just met me and didn’t know anyone else when she was diagnosed with it. She was scared out of her mind and didn’t want to face chemo alone.

    I had a little experience with cancer. I’ve had it twice. But I never had to have chemo or radiation cuz it was caught pretty quickly. Altho I didn’t help matters any by refusing to have treatment. Every week for a year the doctors would call me at home begging and pleading with me to get the surgery. Even offering to do it for free. They were afraid it was going to to eat my brain or something. I said, “Oh, did you find an organ you haven’t removed yet?” And told them no thank you, I would rather die first. It was my mother’s tears that finally brought me to my knees in submission. I couldn’t bare to see her cry. What can I say? I’m a real sucker for tears. Maybe next time the doctors will be wise to me and skip the begging and pleading and just start crying right off the bat.

    But anyways, back to my friend. Every time she had a chemo treatment, I spent a few days with her to keep an eye on her. After all the stories I had heard about chemo, it came as a surprise to me to see how she reacted to it. There I was all armed with buckets and prepared for the worst and….. she never got sick! Not even once! At least not from the chemo. The only thing she had a problem with was the booster afterwards. Now that did make her sick.

    I think the thing that bothered her the most was the hair loss. She’d grieve and go into mourning every time a clump came out. So I suggested maybe it would be easier for her if we just took care of it all in one shot. She thought that might not be a bad idea so she had me go ahead and buzz all her hair off. She was brave and didn’t cry but I know it was hard for her.

    After going through a year of all sorts of treatements, I’m happy to report that she won her battle with cancer. She’s now cancer free.

    I thought it ironic that right at the end, it was not me who saved her, but she that saved me. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say it was a real close call. I was scheduled for termination and at the last second she twice arrived on the scene and whisked me out of danger right in the nick of time. And then just as suddenly as we came into each other’s life, we had to part. I guess whatever role we were meant to play in each other’s life was over and it was time for us to go our own way and live on.

  18. Kat

    Nothing original to write, but yay! on finishing the chemo. I figure you probably couldn’t hear that enough.

  19. Pony

    Re: What are we, Sumerians?

    YES.

    http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Topics/Lilith/burnLi1g.html

    “Apart from Lilith being Adam’s first wife, she was also thought of as a demon queen with a following of minor liliths. These could be male as well as female. The origin of Lilith has been sought both in Roman and Babylonian demonology. {…} Lilith was something like a demon of family life, on the one hand attacking infants and pregnant women, on the other hand seducing men in their sleep “…and cause them to have nocturnal emissions which are the seed of hybrid progeny.”
    http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Topics/Lilith/andersson.html

  20. darkymac

    One is usually as cranky about robot show dogs as one is about owners who strike dogs but one fell over this clip tonight and one believes that some people and dogs just get it.
    Let Rookie and Carolyn Scott spread a bit of extra joy for the end of toxix.

    And here’s hoping that Twisty doesn’t get lost in America.
    Much.

  21. Sylvanite

    Yay on the end of chemo. May you live a long, cancer-free life.

    My fiance’s sister has two of the worst-behaved dogs I’ve ever met. They’re friendly, but large and unruly. I’ve been told that the boxer attended obedience training, but she either failed miserably or her people have never reinforced the training. Possibly both.

  22. Twisty

    RE: Pony n #19

    Why did I even ask?

  23. kathy a

    hell yeah! great end to the chemo saga!

    i second the nomination of tidy for sister of the year.

    hope the knee is better. mr. to-hell-with-leashes deserves to spend some quality time in an enclosed space with other people who unleash their manliness in ways that hurt others. i’m thinking specifically of my-soon-to-be-ex brother-in-law, who recently beat his wife to the point her rib broke. different stories, same patriarchy.

    how can you write about all that and dessert, too? looks yummy, and perhaps is some small consolation for the other indignities.

  24. Betsy

    Congrats, hooray, and yeeeehaw! I hope you are planning to celebrate appropriately. Or inappropriately.

    Here’s to the sunny side up from henceforth.

  25. Erin

    I’ll second the hope for inappropriate celebration; I think that’s exactly what’s called for. And dog pictures — both of them (all of them?).

  26. witchy-woo

    I’m just pleased for you that the chemo’s all over now.

  27. femhist

    I feel guilty even writing this, but your delivery had me laughing out loud even as I was wincing/muttering in exasperation at the dumbass who doesn’t know how to own a dog. (also, those wonderful pictures made me smile.) I hope the effects of this last round of chemo are mild and short-lived, and that you (and your pooches) are recovered from your run-in. When you get that airstream, this Galveston, Texas ex-pat blamer would love it if you’d bring some decent Mexican food Massachusetts way. The Liberal Elite up here are good for a lot of things, but tacos are not among them. (There’s great Italian, though!)

  28. MzNicky

    Twisty: Told ya this day would come. Congratulations. Hope none of that confetti got stuck in your peach fuzz.

  29. Ozzy Lee Harvwald

    Hey Twistocillicus! I’m glad to see you’re out of chemo. I wish you many heathly returns.

  30. Twisty

    Ladies and Germs, may I present to you the originator of the mulit-funcion phrase “sucks shit through Hefty bags,” my old homey Ozzy Lee Harvwald.

  31. Burrow Klown

    Congrats Twisty!!! YAY!!

    Oh and #16- cats also have feelings you would knwo this is you’ve ever owned one. They too get hurt and don’t always retaliate. Example: I pull on my cats tail. She just glares at me and waits until I’m done. Someone else pulls her tail, it’s claws and attack. She only tears one person’s throat out, and it isn’t mine because we have a relationship. Cats have feelings too, and after having both cats and dogs I will say that having a dog is like having a toddler and having a cat is like having a teenager. Both with their various emotional expressions.

    I hate people who abuse animals. They should all die in fiery car crashes.

  32. Sara

    Yay! Yay! Yay! Now when does the hideous catheter get surgically uprooted?

    That is a luscious looking fig, and the espresso syrup is a genius idea. Yuuummmmmmm. Unfortunately, Ron Sullivan’s post made me spit coffee onto my screen. Oh, well, all of a them, no?

    I regret that I always forget that I use emoticons until it is too late, the post has been posted, and the disembodied yellow heads have already appeared to strip whatever dignity might otherwise have attached to whatever silliness has spewed forth from my fingertips. Sorry. But hey, let’s see what other faces we can make the head make:

    :) ;) :O :( >:(

    I blame the patriarchy for the existence of emoticons.

  33. Sara

    I also blame the patriarchy for the decay of my spelling skills. That’s “theme” not “them.” As in “all of a theme.”

    Sorry.

    And it seems the emoticons have to be spaced more in order to appear. Let’s see if this works:

    :)
    ;)
    :O
    :(
    >:(

    (The last one is supposed to be “angry,” like a woman living under the thumb of the patriarchy.)

  34. mycrust

    I’ve been reading and enjoying for a long time, but not commenting. However, I found this post so heart-warming that I was even willing to endure the tedium of registering. Congratulations on finishing chemo!

  35. Sasha

    I would join into the nomination of and voting for Tidy as sis of the year but I can’t quite approve of anyone named Tidy. That might be a personal problem, though.

    Twisty, congrats on the termination of chemo. I’m so glad that progress is made, health marches on, and mostly that there are so many damn days when I drag myself here after a day spent struggling to withstand patriarchial tsunamis and find renewed hope. Not to mention joy and pure green envy at all of the fabulous food.

    I don’t say ‘thank you’ often enough.

  36. Twisty

    Well, her name really isn’t Tidy. Just like mine really isn’t Twisty. She is pretty tidy, though.

    And you’re more than welcome.

  37. Twisty

    You know, Ron, that pear really does have a scrotal look about it (it was poached with the skin on). I can’t tell you how glad I am that I didnt realize that when I was eating it.

  38. antelope

    Congrats on the end of chemo!!!

  39. Frumious B

    Good for you, Twisty! May you be cancer free for the rest of your extremely long life.

    Damn, I hate humans. I particularly hate humans who neglect and abuse animals.

  40. thebewilderness

    A vote for Tidy Faster for sister of the year.
    What is the story with terminally stupid people who punish their dog for doing as they are told. Probably had the same kind of early childhood training they own selfs now that I think about it.

  41. Matt25

    Congratulations on finishing chemo, and on the nomination!

  42. lavalamp

    My dad, who was an ornery sumbitch hisself, once chased a guy down our street after he saw him beating on his dog.

    Damn, what an ungrammatical sentence that was! Anyway… FUCK CANCER. I say that with every ounce of heart I have. I am glad you are rid of it and the awful treatment is now in the quickly receding past.

    Cheers. Here’s to the road ahead.

  43. karenology

    Congrats on the end of Chemo! Yeah, it sucks when owners can’t manage their dogs competently and resort to violence. Sometimes I wonder if people ought to pass exams to be able to own a pet (and have children, and a number of other privileges)

  44. jc.

    May all your future chemo therapy be of a voluntary and purely recreational nature.

  45. sois_disant

    Hooray–the chemo is over: Let the Twisty International Airstream Tour Begin! Are there t-shirts for that yet? Pleeeease?

  46. Oaktown Girl

    Congratulations on the end of your chemo. You probably don’t want to hear this but I want to say it anyway because it’s true: your strenth and courage during this ordeal has been inspirational.

  47. Kimberly

    Congratulations on the end of chemo!

    I’ve heard that the drugs for chemo-induced nausea have gotten much better, but I am still surprised each time you write about getting chemo and then eating a fine meal. My husband had chemo over 20 years ago, and he was sick as a dog – but not a beaten dog – for days afterwards.

    On my way to spread the blame at Wampum…

  48. Pterodactyl Woman

    Congratulations Twisty!

    I particularly enjoy it when a bad dog owner releases their enormous, Hound of the Baskervilles, donkey of a canine, who begins to gain on you with its huge jagged teeth bared and the look of madness in its eyes and the dog owner pipes up “Oh don’t worry, he’s only a puppy!”.

    I’m going to feel so much better knowing that once my arm has been severed and devoured, cheers.

  49. Erin

    When my mother was but a wee, elementary-school aged patriarchy-blamer, a neighborhood boy kicked her border collie mutt for growling at him. My mom dragged him into his house and beat him up in his own living room, in front of his mother. She never got in trouble for it, because the boy’s dad was so humiliated and angry that his son had had his ass kicked by a girl that the story never got back to grandma.

    That sense of appropriate vengeance is what happens when Northern Irish Catholics have babies with southern Italian Catholics.

  50. ginmar

    Hell, yeah, Twisty, that’s good news. While I dn’t deny the allure of the Airstream, I’ve always liked Vespas, myself.

  51. caroline

    Had to my congratulations to all the others. And to the road ahead. May it be long and wild and of course, twisty…YAY, GIRL!!!

  52. Twisty

    Ginmar, that’s the super secret cool part of the scheme: there will be a Vespa inside the Airstream!

  53. Ancrene

    Hooray, Twisty! Congratulations on getting through chemo with such incredible style.

    And I add my voice to the chorus of people who would like to knock Mr. Needle Dick about the head for beating up on a dog he hasn’t got the sense to train correctly. Dumbass.

    Erin in #49, that story rocks my world.

  54. Ron Sullivan

    Twisty, it’s probably different when it’s youw own, oops, I mean in person when you already know it’s a fig. But hey, I thought of you as an adventurous diner.

    Sara, it’s always nice to be honored with a spit-take. So I’ll add one more keyboard-smiley:

    >:*

    Cat-butt face. Too bad the asterisk’s off-center.

  55. Kate

    Congrats Twisty on your liberation from the chemo!

    As for all the emoticons and other symbols, you people are making this thread look like a chat room on aol for crise sakes.

  56. Grace

    Actually, the pear looks like a BEET on a bed of mashed potatoes.

    Which wouldn’t be all that strange, actually, though a bit boring.

  57. Princess of Cybermob

    Yay! Congratulations!

  58. hedonistic

    Ron Sullivan, I love the “cat butt” face! That was my mother’s nickname for me when I was a pouty teenager.

  59. sweetisu

    Congratulations on finishing up!!!

  60. sybil

    Hey, hey, hey…Twist and Shout. the spinster’s free and heading out. bouquets and bubbly virtually heading your way. not much more i can say.

  61. Cass

    I should have mentioned it earlier, Twisty, but you have a beautiful smile!!

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