Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Hour with Normal Neighbor

A few of us gathered for drinks at Normal Neighbor's on Friday, and this afternoon I sat with her at the pool. Lots of good NN time. If you're just coming around, I have told in the past about Normal Neighbor's colon cancer, here and here. I thought I'd give y'all an update.

When she was diagnosed back in January, I was terrified for her. After her surgery I was still terrified for her, as they were able to remove all the cancer from her colon but had to leave a couple of lymph nodes. Now, though, I'm happy to report that she is doing great. She had six cycles of chemo, and not the twelve she'd first thought she was having. That was a huge relief, because chemo was really tough on her. She had every side effect going. Terrible neuropathy, nausea, fatigue, blurry vision (!), you name it. I thought, there's no way she can live like this for twelve cycles.

I brought her lunch at chemo one day and sat with her until she could go home. I wondered what I would have made of the place if I hadn't been through it myself. It's not exactly cheery, an infusion room, and hers was less cheery than mine had been. Having done it, though, it just felt familiar. And while I was grateful I wasn't there for treatment, it was very much on my mind how possible it was that I could be there again one day. Mostly I hated that they couldn't seem to get a handle on her side effects. It was frustrating, as I didn't think she was making a big enough deal of it with her doctors.

She had a scan midway through her treatment that showed no cancer in her lymph nodes, so the chemo had worked and was working. There was one suspicious spot on her abdominal wall, but the surgeon thought it could be scar tissue from her surgery. Then she finished chemo at the end of June, and on Thursday she had another scan to take a look at everything. She'll hear the results Monday.

In the meantime, she had a great summer. She's back to playing tennis--our ALTA league starts Tuesday--and they went on some great trips. She's very tranquil about all of it, though we commiserated about how anytime we feel a pain, anywhere, we think, "It's the cancer." I told her that if my ankle hurts, I wonder briefly whether it could be ankle cancer. I try to mostly keep this hypochondria to myself.

So Friday she made little chicken salads in phyllo cups, and I walked around the corner with a bottle of wine. We gathered with the K(C)athies and another tennis friend on her back porch. Gossiping was carried out. One of the K(C)athies is getting a divorce, so we got updated on that. It was the first time I'd seen her since I got back into town at the end of July and noticed a 'For Sale' sign in her yard. The minute I saw it I thought, "Oh dear." She gave him divorce papers on Friday. So they have their house on the market, but they're both still living there. Awkward. We touched only lightly on the whole subject, she is not the gut-spilling type.

Then I told Normal Neighbor about the Dustbuster Mom, and after she finished a bout of hysterics, she said that she knows that family from girl scouts. She said, "Yes, she is friendly, but if you want to take them on, it might be a project." Hmm. The only anecdote she shared was that once her daughter had bailed out of a sleepover at the dustbuster house after only an hour, because it was "too chaotic." Then again, Normal Neighbor's daughter has some delicate sensibilities.

Then I sat with her at the pool today and she told me a bunch of things about how assy K(C)athy's husband is. Short version: assy, with anger problems.

Anyhoo. That is what is up around these parts. Housework, pool, now I'm making this soup.


Veronica said...

Glad to hear NN is doing well! Hope she gets good news on this latest scan. And, I hope K(C)athy gets out of the house where the angry assy dude is, stat.

Amy said...

Love your everyday bloggin'! I was actually wondering about Normal Neighbor recently--it's good to hear an update. I can't imagine how miserable that chemo must've been! I'll keep praying that she's on the other side of this, for good.

Now, what about the basement?? No updates?

Beth said...

Happy to hear NN is doing well. I hope she continues to improve!

Elizabeth said...

I'm sort of pulling for Dustbuster Mom to be your new good friend -- and perhaps it's romantic of me, but I'm thinking that there are so few free spirits left in the world, you know?

Becky said...

Elizabeth, I am hoping that too. My tolerance for wackiness is waaaay higher than NN's!

Michele R said...

So good to hear that NN is doing well!