Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pop Culture Cancer

Maybe I'm just more attuned to the slightest whisper of leukemia anywhere outside of my own sphere of existence, but it seems like leukemia is popping up everywhere.

First, in one of the books I read for Cannonball Read (The Road Home, a recent release), the protagonist is a widower who lost his wife to leukemia. And yeah, she was like 35.

Then there were new episodes of House where bone marrow biopsies are performed to rule out a leukemia diagnosis. The depiction of how a biopsy is done was ridiculously off the mark. I mean, hello! Where was the pathologist? Plus, in one of the episodes, House blurts out that a patient needs a bone marrow biopsy and that a donor had been found with such flippancy I almost choked on the absurdity of it all. Now I understand why my friend Dr. Kate gets irritated by this show. If it were not for Hugh Laurie...

Next was the latest Episode You Just Can't Miss of ER with Extra-Special Flashback Containing Dead Characters! In it, Angela Bassett's character (Okay, that woman looks like she was carved out of stone. Her skin is incredible!) remembers losing her young son in the ER. Now The Mister and I missed the bulk of the episode, but reading online, I learned that her son presented with seizures and vomiting blood. Then he died. Of acute leukemia. According to the synopsis online, they tried to flush out his white blood cells or something. Man, I wish I'd watched the episode now so I could have given it my stink eye of skepticism. Dr. Green told her it was "an unusual presentation." No joke.

Finally, there's a new French movie out,Un conte de Noël, starring Catherine Deneuve as the matriarch who's recently been diagnosed with...can you guess...leukemia!

I'm telling you folks; leukemia is the new black. It's the hot disease for the season. What can I say; I've always been ahead of the trend.

For those who are wondering, I'm doing good. I just saw my oncologist today, and we're in a "wait and see" period for this last round of chemo. Right now, I feel just fine, but my blood counts are low. Yesterday I got a unit of blood. As I type this, I am receiving my first of two units of platelets here in Cancerville Clinic. They are tanking me up to keep me going.

The blood drive was a big success. Much thanks to everyone who came out to donate, even if you didn't get a chance. At last I heard, they had collected about 44 units of blood (or somehwhere in the neighborhood). Yeah! You people are awesome!


Stephanie said...

I have noticed the frequency of leukemia stories also. I saw ER last week and found it interesting. Not sure how much was "realistic".

Thanks for the reminder, I need to head over to the blood drive today!

Glad you're feeling ok. Keep it up!

Marra Alane said...

My mother is an nurse, and she hates ER with a passion because they're always wrong about everything. Strangely, she doesn't feel the same about House, probably because of Hugh Laurie.

Anonymous said...

Good to see your post!


Marissa said...

I've also noticed a lot of leukemia stuff on tv lately and that episode of house struck me as unrealistic too! Glad things are ok, let's shoot for great!

cindy said...

Don't let the bastardized stories get you down?

Glad to see an update and that you are feeling well.


Treena said...

I understand totally. I got diagnosed with breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness month. Every goddamn commercial, news story and sitcom was about breast cancer. They wouldn't shut up.

Cancer is always used as a convenient way of dispensing with unnecessary characters in fiction. Don't believe the hype!!! =P

gabriella said...

thinking of and worrying for you. x

Anonymous said...

Hope your are OK. Thinking of you.


tinksgirl said...

Thinking of you and hope everything is okay as you haven't posted for a while. Sending prayers that all is well.

Amanda47 said...

Dear Manda Panda,

It's been a while since you've posted and I assume you're not feeling very well. I wanted to say that you're in my thoughts and keep fighting!

Be well, Amanda47

Anonymous said...

You haven't posted in a while and this reader is concerned. I hope all is okay with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Amanda:

Judging from what I hear, you have been having a tough time of late hanging in there.

Don't quit! In fact, don't even let yourself even think about it! Don't let yourself dwell on the ideal for even one second and don't be defeatist in your appraoch to each day's travails.

You have so much to live for, a little one who needs you more than you will perhaps ever know as well as a husband and family who love you more than they love their own lives. May their love flow to you and give you the strength you need to successfully continue and win this fight!

I know what is like to be ill for an extended period. I once had mono for over a year and was essentially bedridden for three to four months. After that, I had to lay around the house for several more months. My case was the worst the local hospital had ever seen; at least, up until that time. Even though my own diagnosis was always positive, it was very depressing being ill for an extended period of time. Basically, it was simply a case of suffering through and then go back to college so that I could find the "B___" who gave it to me and return the favor. Perhaps the clap or the like since turnabout is always fair play and it is always better to give than to receive! But I digress.

I did not have to put up with needles, chemo, technicolor barfing, whooping coughs, hospitalizations or any of the other 'wonderful' experiences I am sure you experience regularly and sometimes, quite painfully.

Keep happy thoughts as best you can since every provider will tell you that a positive mental attitude is critical. I am sure you own doctor has told you this as well. I have read the recorded experiences of many of the jews who survived extended stays in various Nazi concentration camps. Every single one of those survivors recited that having an undefeatable attitude was, for them, the difference between life and death. Those inmates who gave up, even if only for a few days, invariable died. Let the collective wisdom of their experiences be your guide.

Smiling and laughter are good too! As a suggestion, try watching cartoons. Bugs and Company are still great even after over 50 years. I still love to watch them and often grin and even laugh when I do.

I have also found that praying is helpful for me though, like the majority of backsliders, I must admit that I pray more when I am facing a crisis than when the sailing is smooth and the seas calm. I suspect, however, that this last advice is pretty much preaching to the choir so I will move on.

Anyway, while I am sure your doctors are excellent, if Judy or I can be of any assistance, please call upon us. Per your uncle's request, we have deferred over these last months from bothering you and your parents since having all of your family and friends repeatedly call to inquire about your condition is not conducive to maintaining one's sanity, let alone a positive mental state. Nevertheless, trust me when I tell you that we have all be worrying about you and praying for you.

Judy and I will keep you in our prayers this Holiday Season. Speaking for both of us, it is our most sincere hope and prayer that you throw off this affliction so that, like the proverbial prayer of the diasprora jews which I will paraphrase, "next year in remission" and healthy!

May God bless you and your family during this this most trying of Christmas Seasons. May the joy of Christmas shine down upon you and all those you love; may the light of Christmas illuminate your way and give you the strength to continue the battle until victory is finally attained. Keep the faith and don't hesitate to call if there is a need.

Your Crazy Cousin and his Bumfuzzled Wife

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