Monday, March 10, 2008

Please Join Us

It's been a long night and day! The house filled with loving friends. Martha's body was taken away and we toasted her with champagne...warm champagne to signify our sorrow. After very brief sleep I went about making arrangements that I could share with all you readers. Once again the house is full of loving people here to support me and each other.

Here's the 411

On Saturday March 15, starting at 10am until noon, there will be a memorial, followed by a reception to celebrate her life. It will take place at Colonial Chapel, 2926 High St. in Oakland. It is a short distance west from the High St. exit on 580.

Afterwards, Eric and any other family members who can do so, will sit Shiva in the Jewish tradition. Our home will be open to visitors from noon to 8pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Please feel free to come by and offer condolences.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to one of the charities that Martha has supported.
please specify "for health Clinics"

Fare Thee Well My Honey

This evening, March 9, 2008 at 10:45pm Martha left her body.

I was sitting at her side and nurse Mary was standing on the other side of her bed. We were talking about how much she loved me and how much I loved her. It was clear to both of us that she was listening to our conversation. Her breathing was labored, she would breath out, pause too too long, and draw in a breath. I said something about loving her and looked over to see the reaction on her face. In the seconds that I had looked away, her face had faded from jaudiced yellow to pale. The breath in never came. It was a peaceful death, at home, surrounded by friends and family, pain managed, no indignities.

This blog was her gift to me. A vehicle to sing my praises as much as a chronicle of her journey with cancer. I will treasure it always. Martha suggested on numerous occasions that I might enjoy blogging myself. So far, I can't say much for the experience. Who knows? Perhaps I will keep it going? For now I can at least promise that I will post again to let you three regular readers (and you lurkers as well)know when and where we will be gathering soon to celebrate her life.

Thank You All

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Greetings to my three regular readers!

So much has happened since I've last updated this tired ol' blog. And, to be honest, it all feels a bit like water under the bridge. It felt urgent in the moment. In the moment, it was my inability to pee -- something that occurred to me after three days -- that sent me to the ER for catheterising (no big deal) and a few days of IV narcotics.

Here's the hard part, but I don't think there's any point in trying to string pretty words around the truth... or ugly words, either.

I'm now a hospice patient, and I've been given 5 days to 5 weeks to live. Technically, that "5 days" should have ticked down to "4 days". It's not an exact science.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


It's so crazy, I don't know how to describe it. Much of it is still in a fog. All I can say is that last night, after spending 7 (8? 9?) hours in the Emergency Room, I was admitted to the hospital.

The nurses woke me up ever five minutes, then 20 minutes, then 1.5 hours until 4:00 AM.

So far no word on when they'll let me out.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

No News/Some News

There's been some grumbling among my three regular readers that I haven't been keeping my blog updated. Folks want to know what's going on and I'm (practically) pleased as punch(ish) to keep the 411 flowing.

Unfortunately, there's been nothing definitive to share. I could travel a sentence or two down each conjecture, but folks wouldn't be closer to knowing what's happening with this raggedy, brokedown, palace of a body.

More tests next week and the results should largely tell the tale.

In the interim, more watching and waiting and crazy yellow eyes.

And then there's this part... the part that's so important that I can only type it in a whisper... after tomorrow (Monday) Eric's going to stay home with me.

It's no small matter for him to do this. He worries about work... he worries about his students. (He really does worry about his students.) It's a burden for him, and his kids, and his colleagues. He wouldn't describe it as such -- he's quick to point out that I'm his first priority, and I know that's the truth -- still, it's a burden. But... it's also the weight of worlds lifting from my shoulders.
Thinking about having him here with me is the closest I've come to happy in a while.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Just Reporting

Some mornings I wake up and my first thought is: I don't feel good. And that's how it continues, until I fall asleep at night. I don't feel good I don't feel good I don't feel good I don't feel good I don't feel good. That discomfort and those words fill the space in my world. There's no room to read or write an email. I can't watch television, or read a book, or answer the phone. I don't feel good I don't feel good I don't feel good, and that's all.

I move in a circle .... lying in bed, sitting in the easy chair and then lying on the couch in my bedroom, sitting in the recliner in the guest room, lying in the guest room bed. I move around and around until I'm too weak and tired to pull myself up anymore.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Cooking shows, Britney exposes, true crime stories, and "My teen wants to be a prostitute and have a baby" on Maury.

Oh, I wish I could work!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just more.

There's just not much to say. More of the same, but mas amarillo y mas amarillo y mas amarillo. I look sick... like a junky or someone w/ hepatitis & limited Spanish who's stuck in a cheap Mexican hotel room for weeks on end. You know... like that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I don't feel well enough to write, talk, walk, sit up, breathe deeply, eat, read, or listen. My eyes are now yellowyellow, not just yellow-at-the-edges. My face is yellow, especially around my eyes and forehead, and my chest is yellow. The rest of me is yellow-ish.

I'm alone all day while Eric's at work. I'm lonesome but only for Eric. Just waiting to see what happens. Kinda squinting at it... looking through one eye.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm just mad about Saffron (Saffron's mad about me).

I was at work on Valentine's day, chit chatting in the graphics department while the nice folks there went out of their way to help me with a (for me) demanding project, when one of the designers told me that I looked yellow.

I looked at my arm suspiciously. I check for yellowness with some frequency as my liver is (as my oncologist put it) "going sour" and as he's stated on several occasions "when your liver goes you're up a creek."

I told the designer it was just the light. She looked up and pronounced the light blue. Doggone designers and their finely calibrated color instruments. Bah!

Still, if I was yellow, I was barely yellow. I thought I could even be tricking myself into seeing yellow.

I had an appointment to have blood drawn from my port for tests that afternoon. Was there ever a finer Valentine tradition? The chemo nurse gazed into my eyes and pronounced me yellow, and I figured that was that. Jaundice it was, and this time I'm not just talking about my attitude. All that was left was the waiting, and my hyper-efficient HMO emailed me within two hours.

Bilirubin is a brownish yellow substance found in bile. It's produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. When bilirubin levels are high, the skin and whites of the eyes may appear yellow, or jaundiced. In cancer patients with liver tumors, jaundice can be caused by liver failure or a blocked bile duct.

My bilirbubin levels had always been within a normal range, meaning .3 or .4 or .5. My blood test came back as 5.1 -- a high level of toxicity.

At that point I figured myself "up a creek". I emailed my doctor, who responded very quickly, and he seemed to agree. He didn't disagree, anyway, and asked to see me the next morning.

Which brings me to today.

To make a long story shortish... I may not be up a creek just yet. I'm certainly yellow... more yellowed than yesterday, for sure... but it may not be because of disease progression but instead a nasty side effect of my current (now former) chemo regimen.

Now there's just waiting and seeing. Eric and I left town this afternoon. As much as I love our home, I needed to see something different. As sick as I feel, I'm glad we did.

For a bit & a while I figured myself for dead in a month or two. That seemed like a realistic timeframe. I wasn't anxious or scared, but I was sad.

But for now I'm feeling optimistic. I think there's more time than that... I think this isn't a worst case scenario.

No guarantees, of course. I was going to say "for any of us, ever", but that's not true. I feel 100% certain of Eric and his goodness. That's what I'm guaranteed, and I'll take it.