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Monday, March 21, 2011

Choose Life!

This is my sudden motto. With every phone call I have to make to drop the bomb on a beloved, I find myself waving my pumped fist in the air above the phone and assuring them that I "CHOOSE LIFE!"

Which means it's very clear to me how to go through this.
There are only two things to fear, death and pain. Death is not an option for me at this point, so that just leaves pain. And pain can be tolerated.
I will get through it, and I will find the humor and the grace and the silver lining in each day—so much easier to do when something like this suddenly bombs your life—and I will have fun when I can, and laugh as much as I can, and I will write about it. And life will go on and jokes will be told and blah blah blah. You know, CHOOSE LIFE!

So, the picture is of me in the hospital last night.
Annie is with me now and as soon as we popped off the plane my dad rushed us to the hospital like I was a lady going in to labor.
The hospital room was, for the record, far inferior to Annie's old digs at Cooley Dick in Noho. Ancient TV barred to the ceiling, toilet behind a curtain, view of a pole. Our jaws dropped a little. Where was the flat-screen TV? The Guest Couch? The private bath?

Of course, that's all cosmetic. It's the care that counts, and it couldn't have been better.
The doctors—wheels greased by the not-so-invisible hand of Dr.Dad—moved quickly and in less than 24 hours I was able to have 2 important tests: CT Scan and Bone Marrow Biopsy.

For me the CT was kind of like a Disneyland ride. You lay down and are propelled in and out of this futuristic-looking radioactive donut, while a lady robot voice periodically tells you when to stop and start breathing.
My CT tech was a very kind guy red scrubs named Clifford, "like the big red dog," he said.
"I'm Kia, like the car," I said.
Then he warned me—grinning— that the contrast dye they'd use to see my insides better would make me feel warm all over, including in my junk, and that I might feel hot down there like I was peeing.
"I'll try not to pee," I told Clifford as he warmed up the machine.
"If you do," he said, "I'll laugh at you."

The Bone Marrow Biopsy was less amusing, but not as painful as it could have been. (They numb your muscle and bone surface first). Really, it's the knowing that someone is screwing a rod into your hip and pulling out bone bits that really f*cks with the mind. But the pain? Slamming your finger in a door hurts worse.

Finally, on to what everyone is really wanting to hear. The results:
Bone Marrow results will take a few days, and those are the really definitive tests that will tell me what exact kind of cancer I have (lymphoma or leukemia) and what stage it's in, etc. Then and only then can treatment decisions be made.
The CT was fascinating, as I was able to see the pictures of my trip through the Donut, and understand why I haven't been able to eat or poop in weeks. My spleen is now 8 times its' normal size, and is very probably where the cancer cells are emanating from. (Nobody said the word
tumor, but maybe it goes without saying?) My stomach is a tiny marginalized pocket and it, along with all my other digestive organs, are now sitting somewhere much closer to my pelvis than they would otherwise be.

Still, the Oncologist (cancer doctor) said there was no reason to keep me hospitalized while I was waiting for the test results. Another blessing. Now Annie and I are relaxing in comfort, living in the moment, and waiting. And we are ok.


  1. hey kia and annie-
    big big big hugs to you both... we're thinking of you and sending you lots of good wishes! you are a beautiful writer! you can do this. there's snow on the ground here, you are not missing much! ; )
    lots of love, s, j and little a

  2. K-Bow and AC/DC: "Choose life!" with a fist in the air has become my new morning greeting to my co-workers. They're pretty weirded out. I think they think it's some kind of commie Star Trek thing or something. sending love times a billion westward.

  3. Kia and Annie, Great attitude, Kia! Thanks for the beautifully expressed update. You're encircled and held (literally and figuratively) by many people who love and care for you. We're thinking of you many times every day and sending our love and healing energy your way. Love, Craig and Diane

  4. Thanks for starting this blog. I will be a dedicated reader. Looking forward to more of this:

    "I'll try not to pee," I told Clifford as he warmed up the machine.
    "If you do," he said, "I'll laugh at you."

    Love you, Miss Kia!!!!

  5. Hey Kia and Annie,

    Doris sent this link to us all. Thank you so much for sharing all you are going through with us. We're all thinking about you and sending all our love and healing thoughts your way. It's just un-fucking believable the kind of shit life throws at us. Having caught my fair share of it over the years, I know first hand that it's exactly your new motto - along with a smile that comes from KNOWING you will be guided by and, eventually, come into the light at the end of the tunnel - that will get you through the bad news, evil tests, fear, uncertainty and all the other nastiness that comes with these life tests. Kia, I have only spent a little time with you, but I have felt the powerful spirit that emanates from you. May this power shield you from doubt and fuel your resolve. Please know that I, my family, and all of us at MSR are here for you in any way that may be helpful, and that our love and wishes for health and happiness are with you. So much love, Louie, Jen, Asher and Izzy Davis

  6. Kia,
    I absolutely love your fist pump in that photo. You are such a tough girl. You are going to kick this cancer's ass, and I am going to read about your fight, which I have no doubt you will undertake with tons of humor and grace. I'm so sorry that this is happening to you.