Friday, October 24, 2014

Return of the Cancer

Apparently my body has given me an early birthday present, but it's not necessarily one that I really wanted.  My cancer is back.  This time it is in my spleen, which is one of the places that melanoma can go, since it spreads through the lymph system, and the spleen is a part of that system.

My last scan turned up a lesion/mass (I'm not really sure which it was.  They have used both terms.) on my spleen.  I had a biopsy Friday before last, which took most of the day. When they biopsy an internal organ, they take a long-ass needle and stick it in your side down to the organ in question.  That needle is hollow and they shoot other needles down that one to collect the needed tissue.  Of course, you are numbed and semi-sedated during the whole process, but it's still a little unnerving.  After that, you have to hang around and doze and let the anesthesia work out of your system.  I went in at nine and did not leave until four that day.

I got the results Tuesday:  positive.  I figured that was the way that things were going to go.  My feeling was confirmed before I even got the news when they sent in the happy, gentle, kind of goofy older doc to give me the news.  When everything is normal, you get the slightly smug, "I'm a doctor" dude.

I'll start treatment next week.  Dr. Happy tried to paint a lovely picture about how easy this treatment is and how I'm just going to skip through daisies the whole time and ask for more when it's over.  I know better.  He said the same things last time.  While it is true that there have been some great advances in the treatment of melanoma in the last several years, nothing with cancer is ever easy.  There are just degrees of difficulty.

Speaking of treatment advances, the drug I was on last time were touted as having a 75% rate of non-recurrence up to five years after treatment.  I guess I'm in the minority 25%.  Figures.

Technically, my new treatment is not chemotherapy.  It's a drug called Yeravoy, which is immunotherapy.  I'm still going to have to go to the cancer center, spend a couple of hours there, get poked with needles, screw up my veins, then go home and have side effects, so it's pretty much all the same to me.  Not fun is not fun, no matter what you call it.

This drug is supposed to stimulate my own immune system to fight the cancer on its own.  One of the drugs I had last time was the same type of thing and it gave me chills and body aches and fever like you would not believe.  It was like the flu on steroids.  One I lay in bed under like a half dozen blankets, with Keith on one side of me and Kosh on the other and I was still shivering so hard that I shook the bed.  I am not looking forward to that again.  In side effect terms, they describe this as "flu-like symptoms."  I call it "flu driving a Mack truck."

The other side effects are supposed to be similar to what I had before:  some nausea, rashes, loss of appetite, and fatigue.  Yes, the bricks are coming back.  They call it fatigue.  I call it "bone-crushing tiredness that will not go away."  I didn't really have a lot of nausea last time.  I hope that's still true.  The fatigue is about all I can handle.

If this treatment doesn't work, then there's another new drug they can try.  If that doesn't do it, then surgery will be a last resort.  You really don't need your spleen as an adult.  I'm figuring, based on my track record so far, that I'll end up under the knife sometime in the spring.

I know I sound bitter.  That's because I am.  I am fucking pissed off in fact.  This shit was supposed to be over.  That's what I drug my ass around for seven months last year feeling like I was going to drop at any moment in order to accomplish.  I don't know if I will get over this feeling and, frankly, I'm not sure I want to.  At this point, it's my anger that's getting me up in the morning.  Otherwise, I'd be completely deflated.

This is only supposed to be a short run treatment--four treatments administered every three weeks.  If it all goes as planned, I'll be done before Christmas.  I just don't want the fatigue and side effects to spoil our wedding trip.

I have a lot to do this weekend to get ready for treatment to start.  Both booths need to be cleaned and stocked.  (Why did I open a second store????)  I need to think more about work.  I decided that I am absolutely not working on treatment days, like I did last time.  It was just too much.  I need to catch up on laundry and house cleaning.  I need to pre-write some blogs and get this thing back to life.  I'm not going to want to do some of that stuff once the fatigue starts hitting hard.

I don't want to do this.  I'm dreading it, in fact.  The whole ordeal of finding a vein for the IV is already giving me nightmares.  They fried them all out with the chemo last time!  Every blood draw and IV I've had since chemo has been torture.  Sometimes even when they do find a vein it's so shot they cannot use it.

And I don't have Dr Kosh around any more to make me feel better.  I'm just not sure that Chiquito is up to the task.

Fuck cancer.  Fuck it hard.


Friday, October 10, 2014

What is your quest?

Post title from the ever classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail:



A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Saturday where I kept showing up at sales and finding these awesome vintage items at near giveaway prices that had already been scooped up.  As I was leaving one house, I thought to myself:  "I'm glad I'm not out here looking for vintage items only.  I'd be a wreck after seeing all that."

That got me to thinking about my quest.  What is the driving force that puts me out there every Saturday and as many other days as possible.  Do I have a Holy Grail?  When I walk up to a table and scan my eye over the goodies thereon, what do I want to see leaping out at me?

The short answer is pretty obvious:  Anything that I think I can sell or that I think I might want at a good price.  But that's awfully generic and boring, isn't it?  It's also wonderfully wide open and leaves me so much room in which to roam.  I've gotten several comments lately about the wide selection of items I seem to pick up.  Let's break that short answer down a little more.  Have a glimpse into what's in my head as I go out on the hunt.

I think I have an advantage by selling in a flea market style mall.  I'm not bound to any rules or perceptions of what is or is not "vintage" or an "antique."  If I want to buy and sell that Teletubby, then I can buy and sell that Teletubby.  I also do not have to worry about fighting the myriad of ever-changing eBay rules and regs.   I don't feel bound by what my smart phone might say about what an item is bringing right now in online auctions.  It's incredibly freeing and allows me to take chances and be creative.

Not that there is anything wrong with any of those other venues or styles of doing things,  There's more than one way to be a re-seller.  You have to find what works for you and do it consistently.  I use those tools.  I look things up.  But I also already have a strong innate sense of what is right for me to sell, what my customer base likes, and what my venues will support.  You can't find that in an app.

I'm also a seller, not a maker or re-maker or fixer upper or doer.  I have no, I repeat no discernible talent for that  kind of thing and no patience to try and learn one. I admire those who do, especially the ones with the vision that takes them beyond what they see in front of them and leads them to make it into something classy and timeless, not trendy.  The ones who know when to stop embellishing at just the right moment.  The ones who are quirky and have a sense of humor about what they're creating.  I cannot do this, and it's really better if I don't even try.  I consider myself a sourcer of raw materials for these people.  I have no doubt that there are things that have come out of my booth that are now vastly different from the way they were when they were bought.  I'm happy to have given someone something to work with.

Besides, I battle my own overwhelming sense of procrastination and disorganization every day just to get things priced and placed in a timely fashion.  Like within a week of purchase.  And I still have a store room full of stuff and a mound I call "Mount Backlog" at home.  I shudder to think what it would be like if I were saving things to refinish and repaint and repair.  I think I'd be single for sure!

Somewhere along the path, this turned into a two-parter.  I'm going to cut my general thoughts off here and come back later with something slightly more specific (or at least slightly less general).  If the pics in this post look familiar, it's because they come from previous posts of my hauls.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Anatomy of A Mazda Fill

So you start with a relatively empty van, add a couple of tubs with some paper for the smalls, and take off on your adventure.  Then you buy some things.  At first you just kind of toss them in the back.



Eventually, you reach the point where a rearrange becomes necessary.   We were lucky to be stopped in an empty church parking lot, so we could pull everything out and redo it.



While we were working, a woman stopped and said:  "Think of it like a big puzzle."  Um, thanks, strange woman I have never seen before.


Then you make your last few purchases and top off the lot.



Tah dah!  One full Mazda!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Monday Tuesday Rambles

I'm back!

Please accept my apologies for the lack of content for the last couple of weeks.  Honestly, I just did not have it in me to blog (or do much of anything) for that time.  Losing Kosh triggered the worst depressive episode I've had for quite some time.  I'm coming out of it, slowly, but for a while it just seemed like a heavy weight of sadness had taken everything over for me.

Thanks so much to all of you for the sweet notes about Kosh.  I still owe some of you personal thank you's, which I will be getting to in the next day or so.  I appreciate your concern and sympathies so much.

Due to my funk, I almost skipped out on doing the Highway 60 yard sale on Saturday, but I'm glad I didn't.  It was windy and cold, but I think it did me a lot of good to be out and about.  The sale started in Meade County (near where my dad used to live) and proceeded west through Breckinridge County (near where my mother used to live), so it was kind of like a homecoming of sorts.

Typical roadside view in Meade County. 
 We had planned to make it to Owensboro and then camp on Saturday, but we cut the trip short just shy of Hardinsburg.  The van was full and it would have taken a major repacking effort to make more room for anything else.  We had gotten a later than planned start, because we had both slept through the alarm.  Plus, Meade County had been rich with large group sales and flea markets and treasures.  I was very happy with the load.  It's not about the number of sales you hit.  It's about the treasures you find there.

At the time we turned back, we realized that we still had enough time to stash everything in storage at the Peddlers Mall and get home to Chiquito and our own bed.  And that's what we did.

Here's a little preview of the haul:

The leaf on this desk folds down and collapses the desk to the size of a file cabinet!



Those are the pieces that went to the new Peddlers Mall yesterday.  Here is what I took to the other store:

I love me some school desks!

Shelf and wood podium

That shelf is kind of cool.  There's a note on top that it was made for a social studies project, which I am guessing was something about colonial or pioneer living.  The boards all have these adorable, primitive dovetail notches, and the whole thing is held together with wood pegs instead of nails.  I can totally see someone getting this and staining or painting it up nice and purty.  It needs a little gluing around the pegs, but it's pretty sturdy.



I still need to get pics of the smalls, which were pretty awesome this time around.  I had several good scores.

Booth sales have really bottomed out lately.  I ended September well at my original Peddlers.  Not as high as previous months, but still four digits in the gross.  That construction mess is sure hurting though.  I only did about a third of my normal take during the indoor sale.  We are still waiting on the signage to appear.

At the other space, I did okay for a first month, but not near what I was expecting.  I'm struggling to get off the ground there, and it is fueling my fears that I'm only capable of selling in one location. (Which also really added to my latest depressive bout.) They've offered me a double booth starting in November, and I'm going to take it.  At least I'll have all my stuff together in one spot.

The weekend was really pretty good at both locations, however.  It looks like furniture is starting to move again, which is nice.  I've picked up several pieces cheap from vendors who were moving out, so I have a pretty good inventory of big items right now and I would like to move them on!

The home front is kind of odd right now.  Everyone feels Kosh's absence.  I'm still seeing him out of the corner of my eye.  We're keeping an eye on Chiquito, but in some ways it looks like he's not figured out that he's the only cat now.  For the first couple of days, he kept waiting for Kosh to eat when I put the food down.  He very definitely feels the pressure of being home alone all day.  He's become really super clingy when we get home.  I'm giving him all the extra loving I can to help him through.