Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Do NOT paint a bicycle" or Elusive A-1

A few weeks ago when I began researching “How to Write a Book”, I found it hilarious that the first thing I found on my Google search was the exact same recommendation that Richie had had found several years ago, when he had researched… “How to Paint a Bicycle”.    The first and foremost instruction was,  1.)  Do NOT paint a bicycle”.  Then it went on, “But if you must…” followed by a list of other things that must be done with descriptions of how it will all go wrong if you choose to ignore instruction #1.  The information I found in my search was at least as limiting and equally as likely. (You know, things like, it’s a waste of time, you’ll never finish, and it will only cause heartache).  Later that week, I randomly stumbled on something written by Alan Ginsberg titled: “On How to Write”. Each section of discussion included a list of quotes by writers and philosophers.  One of the quotes that struck me the most was by Poet, Ezra Pound…  Direct Treatment of the ‘Thing’ ”.  It was within the section of discussion called “Plan…or…Method”.  I immediately began thinking how Radiation is the part of this Method (the oncologists treatment plan) that is the direct treatment of the thing/cancer.  (The chemotherapy was “regional” and the surgery was “local” to use some of my oncologist’s favorite terminology.  During the radiation, they shoot very carefully calculated beams, or “tangents”,  of radiation, directly at the tissues that are considered at risk for recurrence. )               I then wondered if Mr. Pound had ever had radiation treatment. 

This week I’ve had another head-on collision with my frienemy  “The Method”. 

The week started off pretty well.  Each day, as I had planned for my personal entertainment, I had taken note of what was different about treatment each day:  One day I got a nice text from a friend, and one day I noticed in the background, the song “if you like Pina Colada’s”, which reminded me of a conversation that Richie and I had recently had on a beautiful day on the beach at the coast.  Another day, I noticed that the photo on the ceiling in one treatment room had a boat in the river and the same photo in the other room had no boat.  Yes, that did creep me out.  And the sounds of banjos did enter the mind.  One day I was 5 minutes late, and then had a 45 minute wait due to the earlier power outage that was due to the huge rainstorm that we finally had.  Each day, I tried for the A-1 locker on which I had set my sights, but the key was always gone.   By the third day, I began to wonder if someone before me had put their sights on the A-1 just as I had, and had decided to take it as their own.  I was then disappointed that I had chosen such an average goal.   By the 5th day, I just couldn’t let it go and I tried opening the A-1 without the key.  It opened, and there was nothing in it.  Had someone gone so far as to take the key?
Then the collision happened. During discussion with the Radiation Oncologist at my weekly appointment, it became fairly clear, that once again, I will likely not get things my way.  Sometime  after my oncologist had told me that reconstruction would be 6-8 months after the mastectomy and radiation, I met with the Plastic Surgeon for a consult.  I was not happy at all with this 6-8 month suggested waiting period.  We ended up primarily discussing the DIEP reconstruction procedure for reconstruction, because I was SURE that it was what I wanted.  Remember? The Genius idea of moving the fat from the abdomen to create breast mounds? And not interfering with any muscle?  Well, I do still believe it is a genius idea, but now that I’ve had the first mastectomy, I’ve all but ruled it out due to the severity of the surgery. The single mastectomy was much more painful and difficult to recover from than I had expected. I’m not even fully recovered as I speak. So, I’ve decided that I would not like to attempt to have 3 incisions all at once.  When discussing the DIEP procedure, in which the reconstruction is supported using blood supply re-routed from the abdomen (which has not been radiated), the plastic surgeon had mentioned that he could perform that surgery within 6-8 weeks of the radiation.  So, that’s what I’ve been thinking and planning despite what the oncologist had originally stated when considering standard saline implants (6-8 months).  I have really wanted to get on with this treatment and have it all completed so that I could move forward with my life, so my mind attached itself to the 6-8 WEEK scenario. The part that I forgot was that I have pretty much chosen to change reconstruction procedures.  Whatever I will end up having done now, will be using the blood supply from the area of the previously radiated tissues, not fresh re-routed tissues. Therefore, when discussing my post radiation plan, the radiation oncologist mentioned that the plastic surgeon would not touch me earlier than 6 months after radiation.  He also said he’s seen others’ try it sooner and the tissues/reconstructions have failed!

So, Dear Method, you have won again.  I will follow instruction #1, and I will Not Paint THIS Bicycle (right now).  But, after merely one (more) evening of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve chosen to look at what the positive options of waiting for this reconstruction could be.  I’ve decided that I could possibly squeeze in a 50 mile run between recovery from radiation and the future mastectomy and reconstruction.  This surgery might even have to wait for me! 

Photo from David's Confusing Blog. Grand Canyon. Please read David's blog on his completion of the epic R2R2R run!
This will give you an idea of what i'm talking about. :)

P.S. !!! To anyone playing me on Words With Friends!  My apps are down!  both the paid for and the free versions no longer working.  I'm not ignoring you or resigning!  If anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know!!! (i've already tried re-syncing but that's all).



  1. Delete the application and start over. I had to do this once! You will lose games, but can continue to play. Hopefully, someone will have a better idea!

  2. Emily, when you are up for it, I'll run it with you! :-)

    - David.