“I’m really, worried,” a nervous patient confesses to his nurse. “Last week I read about a man who was hospitalized for colon cancer, but then he died of malaria.” The nurse snorts derision. “Relax,” she says. “This is a first rate hospital. When we treat you for colon cancer you die of colon cancer.”
Monday, Oct. 6 – 11:13 a.m.
Today is our 35th wedding anniversary. I am strong, I am in love more than ever and I am in no mood for cancer to screw with me. Fear me, Cancer. Fear me!
Tuesday, Oct. 7 – 9:30 a.m.
To bring you up to speed: Last Tuesday I was falling down dizzy, because the poisons they are pumping into me to kill the colon cancer also did a number on my red blood cells and platelets. So they pumped me full of new blood and platelets then sent me home to give me an extra week to recover from the chemo treatment.
This afternoon I’ll go into the IV Clinic, get the implanted port set up for three days of feeding toxic fluids into my veins, plus get new blood tests.
I’ve got mixed feelings.
On the one hand, with a week off I feel absolutely fantastic. Kathryn’s and the doctor’s experiment with paregoric is working great. The diarrhea has not only been lessened but I’ve put on weight 148 to 150.5. But I know once the treatments begin I’ll be back to feeling sick enough to chew grass like a dog.
On the other hand – we have a foot – (sorry, couldn’t resist) this will be session number five of the chemo treatment. When that’s done, I’ll have seven more to go. Or in short-timer’s calendar speak – six and a wakeup. Meaning the ordeal should end sometime in January. And any more delays will just put off the day when I hear the doctor say, “You are cancer-free.”
So, gird your loins, Allan. Get set for that old Cadd pump. And for clot’s sake, don’t forget the “special cookies.”
Tuesday, Oct. 7 – 11:15 a.m
From the Chemo Snails File: Read about a study yesterday that reportedly showed that snails fed chemo drugs have a definite slowdown in “neural” capacity. In short, they suffer from Chemo Brain. The experiment is part of a project to find new drugs to treat human cancer sufferers. Well that’s cool, I thought. But I couldn’t help imagining these little critters crawling around with Cadd pumps full of poisonous chemical strapped to their shells. And you know, I felt sorry for them.
I used to treat my own snails much better than that. When my garden became over-infested I’d set out little shallow bowls of beer. At night you could watch them via flashlight crawling into the bowls, their little eyestalks wriggling in anticipation. In the morning, the bowls would be full of snails with little smiles on their faces and X’s for eyestalks. They were dead, to be sure, but at least they died happy.
Wednesday, Oct. 8 – 8:03 a.m.
Rough night. Thank the gods for Kathryn and Dr. Tomeski’s paregoric remedy or it could have been worse. Blood tests must have gone well too, otherwise they’d have me coming in today for transfusions. Instead, the pumping of the Adriatic carpet cleaner into my veins commences at 9:30.
Note to self: Eat two of the “special cookies” just before you leave for the appointment.
Wednesday, Oct. 8 – 3 p.m.
Part one complete. Returned home and ate a bowl of Kathryn’s hot blueberry soup. It is a wonder food. I’ll tell you all about it later in the blog.
Now I’m going to collapse and sleep as long as possible with a good audiobook murmuring in my ears.
Thursday, Oct. 9 – 10:42 a.m.
Had a decent night, even with the CADD pump dripping poison into my veins. What a relief. Had a good breakfast of Allan’s Gruel: ½ cup sticky rice, apple sauce, banana, blueberries, soy milk, honey, cinnamon and two big fat scoops of Whey protein. And a cup of green tea. It’s my take on the BRAT diet, tailored for people who undergo extensive colon surgery. (Banana, Rice, Apple Sauce, Tea.) I added the blueberries and protein. I’m told that I need lots of protein to help my body heal from the effects of the chemo. I like the Fuzzy Navel flavor.
Feel strong and ready to face the next session which starts at 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 9 – 5:03 p.m.
Home again, home again, jiggity jog. Tired, but not unwell. Poor Kathryn had an adventure: came out of the library to find the battery was dead. Much freaking and peeking with auto club, car dealer etc., while she worried about picking me up at the hospital. She called to warn them, but told them not to say anything to me. She didn’t want to worry me.
I told you we had our 35th Anniversary Monday. What I didn’t say is that I’ve known her since 1961. I was a senior in high school who was friends with her big brother, my late partner, Chris Bunch. Kathryn was just a junior high kid. But she was just so damned smart she immediately captured your attention. I remember that Chris and I were either talking about Le Carre’s Spy Who Came in From The Cold, or Heller’s Catch 22. Whatever it was, Kathryn was right in there with cogent opinions and observations.
Years later we encountered each other again – at her brother’s house – except this time the age difference didn’t matter and we were both free.
My parents did well by me when they gave me the nickname of “Lucky,” did they not?
I return to the IV center tomorrow to get the Cadd pump removed. Sunday morning I go back for white blood cell tests. Fingers crossed my immune system is still immuning.
Friday, Oct.. 10 – 11:11 a.m.
Had a decent night until about 3 a.m. Woke up with teeth-chattering chills. Wrapped myself in blankets and chattered away like a Mexican maraca, trying not to disturb Kathryn, who had particularly hard day yesterday with worries about cars and husbands stuck in the chemo ward.
Friday, Oct.. 10 – 2:32 p.m.
Got de-ported. Meaning they removed the tubes that plug into the port in my chest. Feeling pretty good. Going to have tomato rice soup for lunch then pass out listening to a good audiobook.
Friday, Oct.. 10 – 6:10 p.m.
Sample ballots arrived. This is a sensitive issue where we live, which is Palm Beach County – home of the hanging chads. Anyway, every election we expect some kind of screw up – like wrong polling information, or absentee ballots not being delivered. After the Hanging Chad Lady was ousted by voters, we went through a couple of other Registrars before we finally seem to have found a person who gets the job done.
We are particularly anxious to weigh in on this election.
Second most important reason: the chance to get rid of our current governor – Rick Scott. The Man Who Is Too Shady For The Sunshine State. The guy really is a thief. He got rich as the CEO of a company that screwed Medicare out of zillions of dollars.
First most important reason: We have a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot. Speaking as a cancer patient, the issue should be a no-brainer. The stuff works, it really does. And it is plain ignorance and political posturing that got it banned in the first place. Not only does it alleviate the terrible nausea, but it even gives you an appetite. Plus, it kicks depression in the behind. With no side effects, folks. No worries about “thoughts of suicide,” like you see in the ads for modern anti-depressants.
So, I urge all Floridians – and even non-Floridians who want to sneak in on election day – vote early and often.
Finally, I want to wrap this up this week’s episode with the recipe for Kathryn’s Blueberry Soup. She is of Swedish extraction, and so was mightily impressed when her research revealed that hot blueberry soup is recommended by doctors in Sweden to ease intestinal complaints. Taken with a couple of “special cookies” it kicks cancer side effects in the head.
4 cups frozen blueberries
3 cups orange juice
3 Tbs lemon juice
¼ t ground cinnamon
2 t Cornstarch
½ T vanilla
Greek yogurt for topping and protein
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring well. Bring soup to a gentle boil. Reduce and simmer until the blueberries are tender – about 5 minutes.
Top with favorite flavor or yogurt and serve. (I like Chobani’s Greek blueberry yogurt)
And damn, it is clottin’ good. Soothes your poor stomach with each spoonful.
Note to self: Next time you update the Sten Cookbook add this recipe. Give Kilgour a Viking doctor/girlfriend for the scene? Maybe even have Kilgour make an attempt to yodel.
(Kathryn interrupted me at this point. “We Swedes,” she said, “don’t yodel. It’s the prissy-faced Swiss who yodel.” I Googled it and found some Swedish yodelers. Made the mistake of showing Kathryn. She sniffed. “Maybe those Swedes yodel,” she said. “But in my family we definitely do not yodel.”)
I wisely dropped it. Besides, can you imagine Kilgour yodeling? Death could not come soon enough.
LUCKY IN CYPRUS: IT'S A BOOK!
Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide:
Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
- "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
- "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus.
- "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke, Bookloons.com
NEW: THE AUDIOBOOK VERSION OF
THE HATE PARALLAX
THE HATE PARALLAX: What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)
THE SPYMASTER'S DAUGHTER:
A new novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan
After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm ravaged night.
BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization.
Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:
Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is "The Blue Meanie," a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.