Unrelated to Anything

A Comment about Comments — and A Note of Thanks

I LOVE reading comments from friends and family after I post something. I enjoy hearing other people’s stories, or their perspectives and memories, whether they are the same or different than mine. Plus, I so appreciate knowing that people have taken time out of their busy lives to come and see what we’re up to. It makes me feel loved, and valued, and remembered, after being so far away from home for so long. Seriously, I cannot overstate how much it means to me to hear from you.

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Sometimes the medicine appears worse than the disease

I must be crazy to post these online for the world to see, I know. But I’ve so appreciated others who have done it before me, I want to help them raise awareness about skin cancer and this particular treatment called fluorouracil (brand name Efudex or Carac or Fluoroplex). I’m using the generic in 5% strength.

Fluorouracil is a topical chemotherapy, an anti-metabolite for you chemistry types. Basically it destroys the DNA of the cells that absorb it. Since abnormal cells multiply more rapidly than normal cells, only the abnormal ones end up absorbing it. It doesn’t last long enough to affect normal skin cells. So wherever the stuff causes a reaction, like redness, swelling, blistering… that’s where the bad cells are lurking.

The types of cells specifically targeted by this treatment are superficial basal cell carcinomas (an active cancer, though not terribly dangerous) and actinic keratoses (the earliest stage of squamous cell carcinoma, which can be more dangerous). I have both types.

Warning! Truly disgusting photos follow. Do not read further if you are squeamish! Continue reading

The Sunshine State?

So how is it that I’m enjoying North American internet, yet it’s the beginning of February when I should be back “home” with my husband? Well, lucky me, I’m still on Christmas vacation!

I’m at my Mom’s place in Florida — have been since January 1, will be until March 1 — which is fun, relaxing, and comfortable, for the most part. I’m here for so long because I need to treat my face and arms for skin cancer, which is not so fun. No need for alarm, it’s not a melanoma or anything life-threatening… I’ve just had a lot of basal cell carcinomas (the most common and least dangerous kind of skin cancer) and lots of sun damage, and need to be proactive. This time around, the doc blasted two AK’s on my face (actinic keratoses, the precancerous version of squamous cell carcinoma, which is more dangerous than basal cell and runs throughout my Dad’s family) and took 5 biopsies elsewhere, 4 of which were thankfully negative. The 5th was an active basal cell on my arm, which I had spotted while I was enjoying a bit of sunshine on the French Riviera a few months ago.

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Time Flies When You’re Having Good Internet

The other morning I sat down at my computer with one goal in mind: To respond to a friend’s email buried somewhere way down in my inbox. I read it while we were boarding a plane and couldn’t respond just then. The problem was, before I could start searching for that email, I had to read my new emails in bright red at the top. (Who can resist clearing that little “unread email” flag?) And one of them reminded me that I was in the middle of doing some online research that I never finished, so since I’m feeling productive, why don’t I just switch over and finish that up real quick? As my internet browser loads with 9 tabs of unfinished business, I see a little flag on the Facebook tab showing a notification of some kind, so of course I must click on that and see what’s going on. Oh look at that – someone posted a video of cute kittens! I must check this out. This video leads me to another one, and another, then I remember there was a video I wanted to watch but couldn’t from our remote post in Africa… so let me just search for that real quick. My search leads me through a few unrelated-but-interesting-nonetheless videos before I’ve long forgotten what video I was searching for to begin with.

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Après la pause…

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I’d abandoned you. My posts last August came to an abrupt halt when I jumped on a plane for France. I was going to tell you about it; really I was. It was supposed to be seamless. I even loaded a bunch of photos and story ideas for you on my iPad, and downloaded the WordPress app as soon as I reached civilization. But it never worked. Every time I started WordPress, my iPad would crash and I’d be staring at my last-played Sudoku game instead.

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