Friday, March 10, 2006

On being Irish

And English and German.....

A combination that, for all intents and purposes, renders one immune to the thing commonly referred to as "a tan," no matter how hard we might have tried in our youth to get one.

I mean, who cares if we're all gorgeous in our youth, sunning ourselves on the back deck, slathering ourselves in baby oil in an attempt to get that "deep golden tan," when all that the slathering and baking is going to get you is the distinct possibility of having to dose ourselves in our 40's with a chemotherapeutant that will turn our faces into bright red masks that highlight where our sun-damaged skin is currently cooking up some pre-cancerous lesions?

Well, lemme tellya, folks, WE, the pale-skinned and freckled masses, should care, because it could happen to us.

It did to me. Yesterday.

The PA who examined me said to the nurse "I think we should F-U-dex her," which sounded to me like quite the walloping dose of disrespect and not a very great bedside manner, until I learned that what she was really doing was presecribing "Efudex," a creme that contains an agent normally used to treat cancer.

Say it with me, y'all - Cancer.


The good news is, no cancer yet, not for me, but the treatment they give you to be sure you DON'T get cancer is the treatment some people receive once they DO have cancer, so there you go.

And, I say! It's divine! The joy of the fluorouracil creme! The "slight burning and itching" as a likely side effect! The spectre of the scabby cooked-lobster appearance I will sport in my future! The TOTAL SUN AVOIDANCE necessary to complete this course of therapy! The fact that I have to treat myself, twice a day for 2 weeks, with this crap, and then wait another month or so until my face is truly healed, then have to use SPF 30 everyplace the sun do shine for the rest of my life! The klaxons that were sounded at this wonderful news! The raptures I expereinced at this loud announcement of my inevitable travels into later-middle age!

Oh yes, internets, there will be pictures. If I have to suffer, then let my suffering be posted far and wide so that some other young Irish girl with blond hair, blue eyes, and freckles (let's leave all those moles out of the pitcutre for now, shall we?) can look at them and say "you know what? Nicole Kidman has the right idea. Pale is the new black."

Oh, and just so you know, even after only my second application of the F-U creme (hee!), I'm experiencing a burning sensation that I can imagine will only grow in intensity with time. And you know what? I'm only doing my FOREHEAD right now! The rest of the face still needs to be treated!

Joy abounding.

Stupid sun.


Maybe news headlines later, maybe not. Why you ask? Welllllll,

Today I'm going to a neurologist, who will ask me "so, Tiff, what about those visual auras you've been having, and for how long, and why haven't you SEEN anyone about this before, and maybe let's just go ahead and give you an MRI so we can take a peek inside yor skull and see if there's really a brain there at all or if maybe you're one of those people who has just a tee-tiny little rim of gray matter surrounding bloated vestibules filled to overflowing with CSF and then we'll write you up in a respected medical journal and we'll go on teevee with you as our "exhibit A" about how people with enormous cranial deficiencies can lead productive lives and you'll be all embarrassed but that's OK because then maybe you'll get long-term disability and start that dryer-lint knitting bizness you've been thinking about."

So, maybe I'm not feeling all that up to being clever today. Really, there's a chance I might not have the brain capacity with which to be clever! Ain't that some shit!


Now, back to figuring out how to ignore my burning forehead, and if burkas are acceptable corporate wear.

I think I'm going to need one from here on out.

Random add-on - I think this is cool.

UPDATE - The brain doctor says I have "classic" migraine, so yay for that, but a big boo that I can't have an MRI to look inside my own head. I was rather looking forward to that! However, when the doc says you're OK, there's no sense arguing with him, especially when he's 6'5" and has a handshake that could crush cement.


Erica said...

Well what a way to end your week. I'm sorry about your burning-and-itching/sun-avoiding treatment, but I hope it will turn out to be prevention only.

And keep us posted (like you wouldn't) on your neurologist appointment. Hey, maybe you're just crazy. I know, shouldn't make light but dammit - being crazy keeps us sane. Or something.

Will be thinking of you this weekend.

tiff said...

I welcome the chance to be crazy! I wonder what it would be like to just go off the deep end and act as insane as I want to. If there was an organic cause behind my crazy, then so much the better! I could go shopping in my PJs and breed bedbugs and wear tinfoil hats with IMPUNITY!
Joke all you want - it's a better approach to life than constant worrying. ;>

Kim said...

My 8th grade English teacher told us that she thought there were so few Mozarts, Shakespeares, and Van Goghs around now because of pharmaceuticals. If someone hears strange things or has weird visions, just give them an electric shock or a pill to make it stop. I say slather on your sunscreen and take a walk around the block wearing a tinfoil hat while singing "My Way" at the top of your lungs. :)

tiff said...

Kim - I'm coming to your neighborhood first. I'll be the one in the shiny chapeax. :>

Anonymous said...

Girlfriend, all I can say is YAHOO for preventive medicine! Hopefully some itching and burning will be the nearest you ever come to the C-word! Slather on the 30 and you can laugh at the rest of the world at 60 -- the ones that are buying botox injections and facelifts to get rid of years of sun damage. As for the brain capacity, don't listen to them -- your writing shows your brain works just fine, thankyouverymuch.

tiff said...

WN - Oh, I'm getting the botox and facelift too (after the lipo and new knees, of course)! :>

kenju said...

Well, aren't we glad it is that and nothing more serious??!! Of course we are, and I love that you can write about such a serious subject and make it really funny!

rennratt said...

Ouch, ouch, ouch! I am thrilled that you are going to be ok. It is also refreshing (does that sound dorky?) that you are open enough to 1) laugh at yourself in spite of everything and 2) serve as a 'warning' to others in the process.

In our house, we get through scary things like this by 'planning' the funeral of whoever is sick...

tiff said...

kenju - I'm like the black knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"'s just a flesh wound! :> I suspect many many women are the same.

tiff said...

renratt - oooh, I like that idea!! "Too bad dear, looks like that cold is going to kill you, but look on the bright side, love, you can pick out your own casket!"
Mine needs to be shaped like a bottle of Jim "beam me up, Scotty!" Woo!

rennratt said...

So far, we have decided that Chachi gets to sit in the audience at his own someone has to go to the preacher and say something. Our favorite pretend comment is 'Excuse me, pastor? I think there's a problem. The man next to me is covered in frostbite and appears to be...ummm...LEAKING"

My husband and daughter (she's FIVE) have decided that, since I am the sickest, I will probably be the first to go. It seems that I get everything I HATE at my funeral. Namely a carnival with scary, uninspected rides and LOTS of clowns.

Is your F-U med a corticosteroid/chemo blend? In cases of corticosteroids, the burning is normal. You can't go into the sun because it thins your skin. And wash your hands before you touch your kids.

[My latest med can shut down my kidneys - and destroy those of my daughter UNLESS I allow meds to sink into skin and wash hands thoroughly first. No fun, these corticos...]

tiff said...

Ren - now - y'all need your own comic strip. I'd read it... just for the Chachi's funeral episode. But you can leave your funeral out - I hate the clowns....ever since I read "It" I'm off them entirely.
My F-U med (I LOVE it!) is not a cortico blend - just the chemo.
OK - you and I need to lunch sometime, because you've got the scientist in me wondering what the heck is going on with you! I'm like that.

rennratt said...

Since Mark ("Are You Blogging At Me") is the artist, I would want him to cover the drawing of the cartoon. I can barely draw a straight line.

In the grand scheme of things, my ailments are pedestrian compared to your current deal. It's the MEDICATIONS that are killing me.

Consider lunch a given. How far are you from RDU?

Fair warning clause: I am much more...ME...on paper than I am in person. Does that make any sense?

tiff said...

Ren - I work in the RTP environs - you? E-mail me if you'd like. sweatinggoddess AT

Oh - and I get the comment about being more me on paper than in person. I was that way until I hit about 40. Then I gave up. :>

rennratt said...

I am closer to me every day that passes. Hitting 30 was the best day of my life. Every day closer to 40 is even better.

I work in the construction arena - just down from the Airport/70/40/540 juncture.