July 22, 2006

See, I was hoping, O Best Beloveds, for a completion date for Cancer: The Extended Dance Remix, say, around the end of August, to tie with Katrina anniversary, so that our year of rather Biblical events (still no frogs nor locusts, but there’s time!) might be wrapped up in a nice tidy 12 month cycle package. However, Dr. W. says it’s unlikely; while he couldn’t be more pleased with the falling of the tumor markers, they aren’t going to keep dropping at the exact same, minus-forty points each time rate. “It’s a logarithm,” he said, forgetting he was talking to a liberal arts major who was also stoned on Ativan, and so then went on to explain that the count doesn’t fall in a straight line, bur more like a curve. So I’m probably stuck with him (always delightful!), and Less Than Desirable Chemo (not so much!), for at least another two complete rounds, August and Sept, and it could be longer depending on the curve. And then we see. Even when the blood test hits the magic number (32! C’mon, 32!) I have to pass body scans.

So, bleah. Still, Less Than Desirable Chemo hasn’t been that bad this go-around, and better still, starting next month, the plan is to go three weeks on (with Week Three being that watered-down chemo that I had so successfully pre-Europe trip) and then two whole weeks off. “And that’s okay?” we asked. “It will still work as well?” Yep, he says, because it turns out that once again, I’m on a regime so new no one has actually figured out what the regime is, they just arbitrarily decided the two-weeks-one/one-off. Oh, and previous Chemo O’ Wonder? Fab Easy Chemo? Yeah, that one is so new they seem to have made the whole thing up just for me. We love our cutting edge doctors.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I go to New Orleans for about nine days–yes, I really more or less came home for two weeks of chemo and now that that’s dispensed with I’m leaving town again. Dr. W. says he is starting to tell his patients about the one who travels constantly, despite being on chemo. Ah, Rick, Steve and I said; I’m becoming one of the urban cancer legends, like his patient who goes water skiing every weekend, one of the standards of impossible patient perfection other hapless gals are held up to. But New Orleans; I have to work on the full length 2007 Frommer’s book (the Portable Guide to New Orleans came out a couple of weeks ago, and is the first post-Katrina New Orleans guidebook on the market, I say this by way of plug), and Caroline is going to help me, and Jean and Brigid are coming the following weekend, too, and the Divine Miss Nettie is coming to set the house up for her soon-to-commence extended stay as she helps reestablish AIDS/HIV services in the city, because she rocks.

And there is a little bit of that longed for symmetry. Two years ago, Nettie, Diana, Steve and I went down to NOLA in July for Rob’s birthday, so that we could attend the Best Birthday Party EVER (Sun Pie! Ruthie the Duck Lady! St. Alphonses!) and that was so much fun that last year, Nettie, Steve, Chuck and I went down to NOLA for the first weekend of August. At first, we thought this was a mistake; nearly all of our most beloved friends were out of town, a bunch of places we wanted to visit were closed,and so on. But then it suddenly changed into one of the most perfect trips we had ever taken there (Satchmo Fest! The Native Tongues monologues! A long hilarious dinner at Delmonico’s! Close encounters with trumpet player Jack Fine! Jazz mass at St. Augustine’s!), the kind of trip where one night we watched a free show by Rebirth, playing on a balcony above Frenchman St, as we danced in the crowd below, and it was hot, and I pinned up my then-very long hair with a blue glow stick. “Drat,” said Nettie. “Now we have another time of year we have to return annually.”

So we are going back, as Nettie had suggested last year, but it’s not quite the same time of year, and the town isn’t quite the same as the preceding paragraph, to put it mildly, and my hair isn’t anything like long, though I do have some uneven fuzz on my scalp, and even some hairs pretending to be eyelashes, all of which Dr. W. did promise might happen with Less Than Desirable Chemo. Not a perfect balance of symmetry, but there are plenty of other elements on the scales, like excellent girl friends and a doctor who has somehow kept me living my life despite all this, the city of New Orleans itself, and of course, all sorts of food porn coming your way upon our return.

Asymmetrical and anticipatory,