Eat cookies, lose weight. Wait, what?

I just saw the most amazing commercial on MSNBC.  I was busy approving comments on my blog (I love comments!!!), and then I heard the, “Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?” song.  You know, we sang it in kindergarden.  I look up, and there’s a portly man who says, “I stole the cookies from the cookie jar!” with a picture of him 100 lbs heavier adjacent to his “svelte” figure.  These people lost like, 100 lbs in 6 months.  That can’t be good for you.  Apparently these cookies replace your breakfast and lunch, and there’s no mention of how much they are.  But man, cookies for meals?  Didn’t mum say that was a big no no?

“Eat cookies, lose weight!”

Hell yes, if they’re Mint Milanos.  (Picture thieved from the Pepperidge Farms website… sorry!)  But sadly enough, they’re oat cookies with random stuff in them.  Cookies all the time?  Doesn’t that ruin cookies for everyone?  Cookies are meant to be eaten in moderation.  Like, I only get Milanos when I go to Winco… and I don’t like to go to Winco.  So I go once in awhile (a very long while).  It’s full of icky people.  I only go if I need some sort of food at 3 am and there’s nothing else to do.  Also, Girl Scout cookies come once a year, since if they were always there, we wouldn’t want them.  So, cookies are for moderation.

So, if you want to eat cookies and lose weight *rolls eyes*, you can look at the sketchy website here.  If you want to try their program for two weeks, be prepared to shell out a measly $133.90.  Oh, and there’s free shipping.  Woo, free shipping after I spent $133 bucks on cookies.  Bah, I’ll stick with shopping at Safeway and choosing salads and such.  I could spend that $133 on smaller clothes from the Gap.

Is It O.K. to Be Pudgy?

Yeah, you heard me.  I was reading Time.com (companion website to my favorite left-slanted magazine, Time), and an article made my non-existent eyebrows raise.  Is It O.K. to Be Pudgy? I’ve been told my entire pudgy life that it is NOT okay to be pudgy on any plane of existence.  California and England are full of non-pudgy people.  We strive to be fit and healthy, both physically and emotionally.  (My ex-boyfriend, Jason, argues that for each year you live in California, you need two in therapy to stamp the California-ness out of you.)  Through high school I was thin because of ballet and sports, but once I quit my activities when I graduated, I filled out.  In the span of five years, I went from a size 4 to a size 10.  Pre-cancer, I was 5’6″, 185 lbs (American size 12), the largest I have ever been.

So, that’s pudgy, I’d say.  I really regret ever getting that large, and I know I can attribute it to nervous eating, poor exercise habits, and study-eating.  One winter, for finals, I ate three pounds of sweedish fish and another two pounds of peachy o’s, simply because I didn’t think.  Bad idea on my part.  I think I gained eight pounds or so in the span of a week.  Of course, cancer treatments have me down to a svelt 155 lbs, and back in a size 8-10.  I actually feel better being thinner.  I know that it won’t last, and I’ll have to start working out right when I’m allowed to after I’m in remission, but things are looking up.

This article begins with this statement: “A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had just concluded that folks who are overweight but not obese are at no greater risk of dying prematurely than people of normal weight.”  Sure, okay, I can agree with that.  But what about all the other risks associated with being heavy?  Like, strained joints, type-II diabetes, a greater risk of heart problems, etc?  The Center for Consumer Freedom wants us to be fat.  According to sourcewatch.org,

“The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) (formerly called the “Guest Choice Network”) is a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them “the Nanny Culture — the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who ‘know what’s best for you.’ “

Wow.  Makes me really care what they have to say.  Here is a sample advertisement that the CCF has spent $600,000.  Another part of their website has the quote, “…But [our founding fathers] never dreamed that anyone would someday attempt to strip the American people of the fundamental freedom to control what we eat and drink.”  What scientists and consequently, our government, are trying to do is save our country and health care companies from having to foot the bill of thousands upon thousands of Americans who have problems they wouldn’t have had if they were thin.  “What the CDC scientists did not conclude–despite the many sound bites to the contrary–is that a little excess weight will help you live longer or that plump folks are any healthier,” Time magazine also noted.

So, I guess Time has told us that, while a few extra pounds won’t kill you, they don’t recommend it.  I heartily agree.

On a separate note, the only propaganda I can agree with on the CCF website is their pro-hotdog campaign.  I love hotdogs (in moderation).  I think real, honest to goodness hotdogs are horrible for you.  They contain all sorts of shite you don’t even know about.  But, lean hotdogs, or all beef hotdogs, or even tofu dogs, are okay for you.  Of course, I have a hotdog toaster, so what does that say about me?  (While I was looking at the Kmart website for the hotdog toaster I purchased, I found a BETTER TOASTER.  Holy crap, it has Cinderella on it, it burns a glass slipper on your toast, and it plays a waltz when it’s done.  I gotta buy me one of those.)

My Brush with Neutropenia

Neutropenia is not a word someone with cancer wants to hear.  When your neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) are under a certain amount (usually 1500), then you are more apt to get an infection, which means, for me at least, I could die.  I never even imagined that I had neutropenia when I went to the ER tonight.  If you read my last few entries, then you know I have a UTI, and am absolutely miserable.  But, then I looked at the neutropenia symptoms, and they fit much better than UTI symptoms ever did.  Who knew?  There was a bit of bacteria in my pee, but it’s not like it was a few weeks ago.  So, I have both.  I spent the majority of the night in the ER, and they wanted to admit me upstairs for a few days, but I declined.  So, I signed the form that said (in effect), “I understand that I’m doing what you don’t want me to do.”

I was given a lot of blood last night (I’m type A+. but they gave me squeaky-clean O for cancer patients), plus antibiotics, lots of fluids, pain killers, anti-nausea meds, etc.  I’m really tired right now, but not like I was.  I actually slept, too.  Amazing, I know.  But, they catheterized me, and now my bladder says “OMFG Thank you!”  Unfortunately, it feels like I’ve cleaned myself with steel wool down there, so even if I don’t have to do, it feels like I do, and it’s still a mess.  I wish those pain killers lasted longer than they did, dammit.  I took percocet when I got home around 7ish (thank you, Jason, for sitting with me and taking me, etc!), and that helped a bit, but now its wearing off again, and I need something.  Maybe more Advil?

This is really the first major complication I’ve had, and it kind of scared me.  My hemoglobin was at 5.5, my white cells too low, and they never told me my platelets.  I was so careful!  Oh well, no chemo for awhile so I can get over this.  Hooray!

Ow ow ow

So, remember when I said I was sick, and had an infection? It spread to my bladder and kidneys, and I’ve been pissing blood and “protein” for a week. Not only that, but the medication they have me on is making me ill. I’m on one giant antibiotic, some souped up OTC drug that makes my pee goldenrod in color, and Percocet for the massive amounts of pain. So, I’m still in pain, but I’m high, and slightly narcoleptic. I’ve just been falling asleep at random points of the day and night. My eyes started to bleed, and my eye sockets are bruised. So, I look like I was assaulted. Of course, all of my hair had to fall out (again) this week, so I’ve been shedding in both the bath and shower. I’ve been in and out of Samaritan, been to SHS, and I’m just tired of being ill. Seriously. I just want to feel the normal level of crap that I usually feel. This is a whole new level that I DON’T WANT. There’s no upside to this at all. I’ve not been sleeping, and I hurt everywhere, and I pee every 5 minutes, and THAT hurts. Goddammit.

I’m going to go lay down and be cranky.  Or I’m going to go pee again.  Haven’t decided yet.

Chemo and Infections

I’ve had a fever for over a week, between 100.5 and 101.5, kind of fluctuating between the two. I developed the worst bladder infection this side of the mississippi on Saturdayish, and they still gave me chemo on monday and tuesday, along with lots of antibiotics.  I was in the worst pain of my LIFE on Wednesday, and could barely move.  I went to Safeway with Sean to get some AZO stuff to hopefully make it feel better, some cranberry juice, and some rice and milk.  I threw up in Safeway (into a bag at least, but still).  Well, the cranberry juice made it burn worse, and the AZO didn’t help at all the entire day.  I finally ended up taking viccodin because I couldn’t function.

I found online that you can take 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 8 oz of water, and that should neutralize the acid in the bladder.  So, I’ve done that a few times today (twice, actually), and I’m still taking the AZO, not taking oral meds except for the prednisone and the tetracycline, and I might take some viccodin again if it still hurts as much as yesterday.  I’m NOT doing well.  My fever is gone, but I’m so uncomfortable, and there’s nothing they can really do, so I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Not to mention having all of the normal après-chemo side-effects.

I’m just trying to take this one day at a time, but it’s HARD. I hurt everywhere, and it’s hard to walk or stand up straight.  If I didn’t have Sean here to help me, I really don’t know what I’d do. At this point, I’m angry at my doctor for giving me chemo because I think it’s doing more harm than good. Bah, it’s all bullshit.

My poor parents

I never stopped to realise what cancer would do to my parents.  I’ve always thought about treatments, how to take the least amount of drugs as possible (it’s easy if you put up with pain and nausea!), be on time for appts, pay medical bills on time, try to feel better, keep the fridge stocked, etc.  I was on my way to chemo on Monday morning, talking to mum on the phone, when I realised how horrible it must be for them.  “Well, don’t you have any news?” she asked me irritably.  “Mum, I’ll let you know how things are going when I hear news. No news is good news,” I answered.

They pester me about taking oral chemo and steroids on time. (Guilty! I don’t always do that.)  They ask what the doctors say. (I keep my parents purposefully out of the loop with my oncologist so I can decide what and when to tell them good or bad news – they have other things to worry about at the moment.)  They ask how I’m feeling *all* the time, and I say I’m fine.  (Fine is a four-letter word in cancerland, akin to another f-word we know, and 99% of the time it’s a lie. I’m never fine.)  They act like parents, and I never understood that until now.  They love me and worry about me, all the time (much to my chagrin), and even though I’m almost a quarter-century old, they still see me as their baby girl.

But, I’m an adult, and stubborn, and as much as I love them, I just don’t want their help.  “We’ll come up and take care of you,” Mum threatens on a regular basis.  “Like f*ck you will! Over my dead body!”  Dad started to ask me what my oncologist’s name was again so he could call and see for himself.  I told him that my doctor wouldn’t tell him anything anyways – I gave him specific instructions to talk to no one unless it was another medical professional dealing with my health in the immediate vicinity (to cover the “tell the parents nothing” clause).  Do I seem paranoid?  

I don’t know how they put up with me, to be honest.  I don’t tell them things (on purpose!), and make it seem like I’m doing much better than I am so they don’t worry.  I tell them it’s easy, piece of cake, and I’ll be over it soon.  They’re impatient and want to know why the cancer isn’t in remission yet – I told them it takes time, and when my body is ready, then I’ll be in remission.  I try to be patient, but I usually fail.  Do I make any sense?

There aren’t any other college students at OSU going through this right now, and if they were, they’d probably have their parents nearby since they live in-state.  But, I decided to stay here, while my parents are in California.  And, you know what?  I’m happy this way.  If they were here, or I were at home, I’d kill myself.  I wouldn’t even need the cancer to do that for me *snorts*.

Sex Education

Oh my goodness. I know, sex ed, right? We all remember the uncomfortable movies in health class, the condom on the banana, separating the girls from the boys so we could ask “personal” questions. Well, I don’t really remember any of that, since they didn’t have sex ed until I was in high school, and then I didn’t go. So yeah, what does this have to do with anything?

So I was perusing ABC News this morning while I was at work (yeah, I got here at 8 like a normal person, and it’s effing early, thankyouverymuch). I spent a good chunk of my night at the hospital last night because I was coughing up blood. The doctors say I just irritated my lungs and my blood vessels are thin, so some blood isn’t alarming. Woohoo for having cancer – it’s like carte blanch to the emergency room (well, they told me to go to the actual hospital, not the emergency room). But yeah, I got taken right away because I called ahead. Sean picked me up around 3 am, and brought me home (and then picked me up this morning at 7ish to bring me to my car so I could go to work – he’s so sweet). Ok, so ABC News. Right. There was an article entitled “Did Sex-Ed Class Cross Thin Line?“, which is about a Utah middle-school teacher taking inappropriate steps in her sex-ed class, like advocating use of birth control, talking about anal sex/masturbation, and fielding questions from her middle schoolers. So, is this inappropriate?

What I’ve heard from other people, this is entirely normal. I know they had that at the public junior high back in Los Altos. I don’t know if they talked about the intricacies of anal sex, but hey, kids are having sex (any kind of sex) younger and younger these days. I know also that some of my friends popped their brown cherries before their normal cherries anyways, because they think they’re still virgins if they don’t have normal sex (which is soooo wrong).

I think they’re having the problems in Utah because it’s a very religious state. I know that they have to keep church and state separate, but honestly, you can’t keep their morals and values out of the school system in a Mormon-majority state. At St. Nicholas and St. Simon, I know the parents vetoed sex-ed in favor of “abstinence-only” education. The kids were taught NOTHING. So incredibly clueless. I blame my early foray into the sexual field on a lack of knowledge. Telling me not to do something, and then just saying “because you’ll go to hell” isn’t really going to deter a teenager, however bright, from doing something they think is rather innocuous. I mean, I wasn’t told, “Sex is special, and you should only do it when you get married.” I was just told, “Sex is a sin, you shouldn’t do it.” I didn’t know what sex was. Seriously. Laugh all you want, but I was in the dark on such things.

So, is sex-ed important? Yes. Should public schools teach semi-graphic sex-ed in middle school and early high school? Yes. I wouldn’t have had the problems I did growing up, like having sex at 15 (15 is much too early to make a decision like that, and I blame my parents and the schools for not warning me!), having sex with multiple people (too many to admit to, unfortunately), and not knowing the consequences. I know now, and I make better judgment calls, but at the same time, I wish I knew a lot sooner. I hate it when people ask me, “How many people have you slept with?” and I have to answer truthfully… I wish I could only say “three” or a number like that, but I can’t. It’s not really bad, but it’s not something I’m proud of.

So, moral of the story is: don’t suspend a teacher for doing her job. She was actually instructing those kids on the intricacies of sex, however gruesome they are, and as uncomfortable as it makes parents, it’s absolutely necessary. Kids actually listen, trust me. If I knew what kids are being told these days ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had sex. Your first time having sex is supposed to be amazing. I was tricked into it by my boyfriend at the time in a dank basement of his parent’s house. He said, “Lets try this,” and retardedly enough, I’m like, “Oh, okay, that’s fine.” What the hell?! It hurt, I was scared, I didn’t know what just happened, and now I’m just angry that the most special time of my life was thieved by a horny 18 year old boy.

So, parents, if you’re reading this: Please, please instruct your children on what sex IS and WHY they shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t just tell them, “You’ll go to hell.” Don’t underestimate your kids like that. I know 13 seems like a very young age to get “the talk”, but it’s not. Kids are always better off with more information than less, and they actually listen. *steps off soap box*