The Absurd Epistolary Adventures of the Astonishing FartMan chronicles the amusing escapades
of the lovable, stinky, and obnoxious Cape & Tights Super Hero, and his maudlin Alter Ego, W____,
as they learn to cope with Stage IV colon cancer, each other, and their annoying fellow human beings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Boatload!

From: W_____
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 4:05 PM
To: T___ and S_____
Subject: Vino

Hi T____ and S____,

No, I didn’t lose (permanently) the wine suggestion T___ gave me. It was on the same piece of paper as his email address so I found them both at the same time. And I’ve lost and found that same piece of paper at least three times! The chemo definitely affects the brain!

Right now that piece of paper is secure in my left hand, and I am looking at the image T___ printed for the Braida Il Baciale (Super Barbera) blend of 60% barbera, 20% pinot noir (pinot nero in Italian), 10% merlot, and 10% cabernet sauvignon. The inclusion of pinot noir, a variety that is not that commonly grown in Piedmont and even more rarely blended with other grapes, makes that a very unusual bottling. Indeed, I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted a wine that blends barbera and pinot noir, so I’m looking forward to getting a bottle next time we are at Specs.

I’m so sorry that S_____ has been having such a tough time with the chemo. My heart goes out to her. I hope things have improved, but the reality is, the dern bad effects of the chemo accumulate, so the last cycles are always the worst.

I've had a little taste of what S___ is going through, but I know hers is a much tougher regimen than mine. I do know fristhand about the risk of passing out, and am also personally familiar with a chemo patient’s little trick of grabbing onto furniture to steady oneself while walking around the house. The fatigue can be unbelievable; until I had a few rounds of chemo, I had no idea just how dog-tired a body can feel.

Sometimes I’m so wiped out that I actually fall half-asleep while walking. No kidding! My wife has to tell me, “Keep your eyes open while you’re walking,” but sometimes I am so tired that I just can’t keep my eyes open, and then I walk around in a sort of a dreamy daze, half asleep, with my eyes closed, navigating through the house by memory, feeling my way from one piece of furniture to the next. I've almost fallen down several times.

One time I dozed off while sitting on the commode and almost tumbled off my throne!

Well, as you know, I am done with chemo (at least for now). This morning was actually the first time that I have begun to feel halfway normal since my last email to you (and that is one reason why you are only now receiving this reply). Other good news: my post-chemo CT scan did not show anything clearly identifiable as cancer. (But of course we all know the stats say some cancer cells could be, and probably are, still lurking in there somewhere).

The CT also showed I have a softball sized “subcapsular fluid collection” between my liver and the “capsular” tissue encasing the liver.

So I have a water balloon in my gut.

Maybe the operating room team left it in there after they had one of their intramural water balloon fights. But it actually feels less like a water balloon and more like a small piece of hard-sided American Tourister Luggage. Or maybe a lady’s small handbag. (I begin to wonder whether I could get the dern thing through TSA airport security’s fancy new whole-body scanners.) It’s been four months since the surgery that removed the mets from my liver, along with 3/4 of the liver itself, so any fluid pockets (which aren’t that unusual after surgery) probably should have been reabsorbed by now. I’ll be meeting with my onc (who is not my uncle) and my liver surgeon soon to see if anything needs to be done about that water balloon.

And although the water balloon causes me some “discomfort,” (the medical profession’s favorite euphemism to describe any pain that falls short of inducing a throbbing burning screaming misery), my inclination is to leave the dern thing alone for a little while longer to wait and see if it will start to reabsorb on its own now that I’m off chemo. I know it’s easy to get fluid accumulations if you lay around all the time, and—because of the chemo fatigue—laying around most of the time is what I’ve been doing for the last month. I’m hoping they won’t want to poke another hole in me to drain the dern thing, as I believe I have had just about enough cutting and hole-poking for a while, thank you very much!

Well, that’s enough fussing and fuming, and whizzing and moaning from me, doncha think!?!?!

A cruise with you guys sounds great to me, but to tell you the truth, it’s probably impossible to talk my wife into setting foot on a cruise ship. She's pretty much terrified of the water, and although we both know her fear is not entirely rational, that doesn’t make her any less scared. She also doesn’t like flying, but a valium is usually sufficient to get her through a domestic flight. To maintain her sanity for a full ocean cruise, you can probably guess how much valium she would require:

A boatload!

However, dinner together, when S___ is done with chemo and recovered a little, would be absolutely great. I would love for you two to meet my wife, S______. Please let us know when your S____ feels like a dinner date.

Is S____ getting chemo this Monday, the 30th? My reason for asking is that I was thinking of stopping by the confusion clinic, ooops, I mean the infusion clinic, one day soon to deliver a little thank you present for my infusion nurse (M______, who is absolutely terrific), and I thought if you guys were going to be there at the clinic Monday, it might be a good time to drop by to say hi.

I think of you guys a lot, and am . . .

Sending Love, Hope, and Prayers,


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