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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing Workshop

Today before my last Cycle 3 treatment, I attended a brown-bag lunch writing workshop on creative nonfiction, which is using literary craft in presenting nonfiction to make your material more interesting and more accessible.  There were about seven of us, and what an eclectic bunch!  From a tech writer who is struggling to write a personal journal, to an obituary writer who wants to get more creative, to a film documentary maker who blogs on politics and humanity and can't figure out why all his blogs are always the same length, we're as different as can be.  This is the first in a series of six monthly workshops, where we we will be asked to write for and critique each other.

I found it quite interesting.  I feel as if I learned a few things.  We were each given 5 minutes to write on one of several topics.  Then the leader asked each of us to read our best sentence aloud.  J.J., the documentarist,wrote, "Julian arrived at the locked gate at dusk, a hammer in one hand and a flashlight in the other."  Now there is vivid detail that conjures up quite an image.  I don't know if this is really creative nonfiction.  If so, I want to know what happened with Julian.

Our assignment for next month is to read other major blogs, such as Salon, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, etc. to find a style we would like to emulate, i.e., to find our voice.  We are also to bring 10 copies of something we have written (one page max) to share with the others.  I think I'm going to like this.

Oh yes, I also had a blood draw and some medication today.  the blood work came back fine.  Since this begins the last week of the cycle, I only got the dexamethasone today.  I had my last dose of MLN9708 last week and my last daily dose of Revlimid yesterday.  This week I will recover before beginning Cycle 4 next week.

I'm a little concerned about my vitals today.  My blood pressure has been lower than normal for the last couple of months.  I have been on blood pressure medication for what seems like forever, and I have consistently measured in the high end of normal range, say about 135-140/85-90, for many years.  For the last month or so, I have been at around 124/72, which is a good thing.  However, today I was 98/62!  Holy crap, that's almost comatose.  What's that all about?  I noticed today that if I stand up suddenly or move too quickly, I feel a bit lightheaded for a few seconds.  I mentioned this to my nurse, Heather, and she suggested that I may not be hydrating properly.  I told her that I have been used to hydrating with my favorite malt-based beverage.  Now that I've cut back, I must not be drinking enough healthy stuff.  I need at least 2 liters a day of water, juice, etc. to take up the slack.  There may be another explanation for this, however.  Before going into DFCI today, I spent 2 hours climbing around on the roof of the annex spraying an anti-mildew concoction and then rinsing it off  with a power washer.  I barely had time to change and rush into Boston for my seminar.  Maybe I overdid it just a tad.

Another issue is that I keep losing weight.  I've lost about 6-7 pounds over the last couple of months.  So today when I got home, I decided I had to eat.  I had some delicious leftover mini pork roast that I made for myself over the weekend while Gretchen was checking out potential future home sites in Appalachia following my dental work.  After eating that, I was still a little hungry, so I decided to go out to eat.  Gretchen wasn't hungry, so I went out myself.  I had a choice...emulate the Red Sox pitchers and go for bucket of fried chicken, or dig into a big juicy steak.  After pondering this at length, I chose the latter, so I went to the Grog in Newburyport and had a delicious 12 oz. Sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and spinach.  I can't believe I ate the whole thing.  On the way home, my only regret was that I didn't get a dessert, like a piece of chocolate cake or a creme brulee.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the dex may have had something to do with my suddenly resurgent appetite.

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