Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Shake, Rattle, and Run

          I’m taking a break from writing about cancer (sheesh!) and moving to a more upbeat topic: Rattlesnakes.
          Yessir, I happen to know more than the average bear about rattlesnakes. And, more than the average rattlesnake about bears.  This is because I grew up in northern Utah where both were plentiful.
When you live in rattlesnake country, you rarely call them that. You call them rattlers. You are also taught never to turn over a bale of hay because they like to nest under those.
SO... St. Bob comes up with a story he found about two imbeciles—I’m sorry, two well-meaning fellows—who found a rattlesnake in their yard, and chased it. It slithered under a shed.
          At this point I interrupted St. Bob and said, “Let me guess what these morons did. They tipped over the shed and found a nest of about 50 snakes.”
          St. Bob was stunned. Had I already read the story? Nope. I just knew what they’d try and what they’d find.
          I also knew there was likely a large supply of rats or mice nearby, or snakes wouldn’t be there. When I mentioned this St. Bob had a wonderful idea. Why don’t exterminators rent out rattlesnakes to catch people’s rats? He even had the perfect slogan: Rattle Them Rats.
          Ah, brilliant plan. Something tells me it isn’t just the rats that are rattled. “And then how do you get rid of the rattlesnakes?” I asked.
          And St. Bob, who grew up not in Utah but on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, said, “Alligators!”  But of course.
While awaiting the arrival of both of these ingenious pest control aids, you can read my books or watch my YouTube Mom videos, where I can promise you will not find either of these life hacks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Wake Me Up When it's Over

          I have another blockbuster idea. It came about as I was texting our son, Brandon, and kvetching about chemotherapy. Here’s how that went:
          Me: Did I tell you I got tonsillitis because of my low white cell count due to the chemo? So I’m on antibiotics for that, now.
          Brandon: No way! Ugh, it’s like injury to injury!
          Me: I know, right? I’m 11 days out from the infusion and still having strong side effects. We’re going to wait 3 weeks between infusions now, instead of 2.
          Brandon: Wow, yeah. It would be constant side effects otherwise, huh?
          Me: It would. I told Dad I’d prefer to be put into a medically induced coma until the side effects wear off and I’m not kidding.
          Brandon: I don’t understand why that isn’t an option. Wake me up when it’s over.
          Me: Totally. It’s not like I can go anywhere, anyway. I’m basically quarantined.
          Brandon: And there would be all sorts of episodes of shows you could catch up on after!
          Me: There you go. I could binge watch the best ones and miss all the commercials.
          Brandon: Comas for everybody! Like Oprah. You get a coma and you get a coma and you get a coma.
          Me: Hilarious! You should run for office on this platform. Everyone would vote for you. I can just see little Coma Clinics popping up on every corner, like Starbucks.
          Brandon: I could go for an 8 or 9 hour coma here and there. And what a vacation! Two whole paid weeks in a coma each year.
          Me: Think of the people who would pay to go into a coma! It could be a way to dodge anything difficult in life--- a breakup, a drug problem, difficult in-laws coming to visit. Plus people who don’t eat right would be force fed properly intravenously. It would be the most successful weight-loss clinic ever!
          Brandon: And it would feel like instant results. Plastic surgeries, dental procedures, entire pregnancies, all sorts of things. They can just play Mozart 24/7 or whatever you do to a fetus these days.
          Me: Brilliant! People could learn foreign languages with headphones, cram for the SAT, a zillion applications!
          Brandon: If there’s a sequel you’re excited for and you don’t want to wait 3 years for the next one, coma!
          And I didn’t tell him this, but when I was texting the auto-correct kept changing coma to comma, so maybe we could even have a little grammar clinic next door!
          It may sound crazy, but you know that if you were driving along and suddenly saw a Coma Clinic you’d say, “Hey, Joni was just talking about that!” and it wouldn’t even surprise you. 
         You may not want to escape into an actual coma—I mean, life does have its demands—but you can easily escape for a few minutes by reading my books.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Opinions R Us

          Medicine is an odd field. First you have people on the other side of the world doing entirely different things for diseases, some of which do work. Then you have local Experts, people here with degrees. There are also wonderful friends who share their experiences and ideas. 
           Then you have the unwashed masses of the public, many of whom are convinced you should try their ideas, and these come at you in the form of a fire hose.
          But whenever you have a big decision to make, we can all agree that a second opinion never hurts. Either it will open your eyes to a whole new idea, or it will confirm that you were already on the right track.
          What unsettles me is the word, “opinion.”  It’s as if this is all just nebulous speculating, all up for grabs by the person with the longest arms, say.
          Imagine you’re in math class. You work an equation, and you get the answer, 24. You now take it down the hallway to Professor Wiggins to see what she thinks. “Oh, no,” she says. “I get 16.”  WHAT?!  So you come back and ask Professor Jones to weigh in.  He says, “Nope. It’s 41.”  WHAT?!
          Surely there’s a finite answer, an indisputable truth when it comes to math, right? And no, don’t tell me about iffy equations from deep space that I won’t understand, which are full of contradictions.
          The point is that there ought to be an empirical answer, a decision about which no one can argue. I like that sort of solid footing when it comes to my health, you know? I don’t want people sliding all over the landscape and then “trying” some idea they heard about.
          So until someone comes up with an indisputable cure, we wander. We research.  We interview professionals and wonder if we should just calculate an average based on their responses.
Ultimately we hunt down someone we can trust. And then we take a leap of faith into the arms of someone we hope studied really hard in math class.
Fear not, math scores aside, you can enjoy my books right here.  And even find hundreds of short Youtube Mom  videos to share with your professors! Be sure to subscribe.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I Call Shotgun

          Here is something you can be glad about today: I will never post a nude photo of myself.  See? And you thought this would just be a humdrum day without any fantastic things to be grateful for!
          There are many reasons for this decision, of course, but one you may not have considered is that I LOOK LIKE A BLUEBERRY MUFFIN! Okay, maybe not the silhouette, but the spots, for sure.
          And here is why. This whole Cancer Ridiculatem (when you get cancer you get to coin words) has caused me to be punctured quite literally more times than I can count. Nevermind the many biopsies. Nevermind the monthly double shots for the clinical trial. Nevermind the anesthetic in the elbow veins.  I’m talking major harpoonings.
          First, I have the obvious mastectomy. This required repair, so now I have two portholes on my side which still mark where the drains were. THEN another scar for the lymph node dissection, another tube, another surgery for the port placement (that’s two in the chest, actually), and a box on my arm that provides a green laser light show along with timed chemo injections of who-knows-what.
          And, of course, I had the basal cell surgery on my nose last summer which came undone and had to have dermabrasion in December and is still red and lumpy.
          So basically I look like I went before a firing squad but it was a group of people who never thought to first practice at a shooting range. I’m standing there, and I hear this: “I got her neck!” “I got her chest!” “I got her nose!” “I got her armpit!”
          Seriously, I look like modern art done in junior high. By Tim Burton. Hey, I wonder if he’s casting for his next movie.
But while we wait for that call, you can enjoy any number of my books right here! And be sure to subscribe to this weekly blog so you won't miss a moment of Joniopolis excitement.