calamari

This last week was real hell.  After my last post, I spent another 3 days flat on my back on pain meds.  Unreal. I finally began to emerge on sunday, and yesterday, just in time for my top up appointment, I was feeling pretty well.  Well enough that I decided to shoot a little video last night while I cooked.

When I walked into the office yesterday my doc said “I have news for you,” ominously as he passed to go see another patient.  When it was my turn he announced that over the weekend he had done some research on the pain.  That it was NOT the oxaliplatin on its own.  BUT that oxaliplatin in conjunction with 5FU and luekovorin DID cause pain in a certain percentage of patients.  What sort of pain was not made clear in the study.  I feel I should point out to you here that this particular drug cocktail is very common.  Common enough to have a name.  It’s called Folfox, and almost all colon cancer cases are treated with it.   The notion that you have to look for some obscure study to find a list of the synergistic side effects of the cocktail as a whole seems crazy.  Anyway.  The pain is there.  It’s been getting worse each round for the last 4.  We’re going to try to treat it with extra strength Motrin instead of oxycodone (I have my doubts).  We’re also going cross our fingers/pray/wish/hope etc.. that it just goes away.

Last night I made a little calamari as an appetizer for dinner and thought I should throw up a video and some instructions.

Calamari is cheap and easy.  Usually there won’t be any leftover.

It’s an ultimate salt and pepper don’t fuck it up type dish.

Rinse and strain the calamari.

Cut up the tubes into 3/8″ or so rings.  I prefer the tentacles, myself, and so I often send Hillary to the fish counter, since she’s far better looking than me and twice as charming.  She usually manages to come away with about 80% tentacle.  Nice. The tentacles, you can leave whole.  Press them to the bottom of the colander to get as much moisture out of them as possible.

Dredge all the bits in a mix of all purpose flour, salt, pepper, and some dried parsley..  I don’t typically keep dried herbs around.  They all taste the same to me (maybe with the exception of dried mexican oregano, which I usually do have on hand).  Fresh parsley will work fine..  Just dice it up fine and dry it out in the oven for a while so that it doesn’t gum up the dredging mix.

Toss the dredged bits into some nice hot oil, stir occaisionally, and remove when they’re a satisfying brown.  Drain on brown paper.

I like to serve them with a little aioli, or I guess to be accurate, flavored mayonnaise.  In this case I did one with mashed garlic and pepper (oh oh..   learn to mash garlic.  It’s in the video.  First slice it as thin as you are able.  Then put some salt on it.  The salt acts as an abrasive.  Using the side of the knife edge, mash it into the counter top.  This takes just a little practice, but once you’ve got it down, you can reduce a clove of garlic into super nice oily garlic paste in about 30 seconds flat).  The other was mixed with a little Patak’s garlic pickle.  Outstanding stuff.  Great on sandwiches.

That’s it.  You’re done.  Serve it on a bed of salad to make it look cute.  And maybe have it with some soup that you made for lunch the day before. This is the sort of thing that people often get at restaurants.. don’t bother.  It’s easy to do at home, and is almost free (I believe this was about $4 of squid, maybe less).

ATTENTION!!  My brother is playing at poisson rouge tonight.  It’s a new series he’s doing where he invites friends who happen to be in town to join him on stage and play some of his music, some of theirs.  The first one, last month, was great.  This one promises to be as well.  The official guests are Justin Bond (who if you don’t know, is the grande damme of NYC cabaret, and a beautiful soul), and the Poison Tree (Steve Salett’s new band..  formerly head man of King of France, and one of the truly great song writers out there).  Though it’s not published, I happen to know that our pals Glen Hansard and Samamidon will also be playing.  So if you’re not busy tonight, come join us! Get tickets. It will sell out.

Ok. Thank you all for your words of encouragement this last bunch of days. I was stuck in a pretty bleak place, but am really feeling much better now. Can’t promise I won’t spend a little time horizontal this afternoon in order to make it to the show tonight.

narcotic dayz

The most difficult side effect over the last handful of rounds has been pretty severe joint pain.  It seems to radiate from the upper spine, and effects my arms.. elbows, wrists.  It’s a dull but constant ache.  For a moment or two, not so bad, but after 24, 36 hours it gets exhausting.  Last round, it set in on the thursday following treatment and persisted through the weekend.  I feel I probably mentioned it in a previous post.  I had an MRI of the spine, and it revealed what I already knew.  I have a couple of herniated disks in my upper spine from bouncing around on my head when I was teaching dance.  They flare up now and then, but the quality of this pain is something quite different.

This round had a pretty promising start.  The pain set in immediately instead of waiting until Thursday, and Monday night I didn’t manage to sleep at all.  I went into the office on tuesday and got a dose of benadryl as usual to go with the erbitux, and it knocked me out beautifully.  I slept soundly while getting dripped for close to three hours.  I walked back through the park feeling quite a lot better.  The pain had subsided and I thought maybe that was it for the week.  Yesterday, though, it came back with pistolas blazing.  Today I’m in a lot of pain.  I got out of bed this morning, and got as far as the bathroom..  Took some oxycodone and went back to bed.  The stuff puts me in blissed out daze, which beats the pain for sure, but makes me pretty useless.  Finally got up and started moving around at about 11, filled an Etsy order, ate some lunch, and now the dope has worn off..  at least the part of it that does anything for the pain.  I’ve just taken some more and am planning to head back to bed.  I’m hoping against hope that this isn’t something that will just get worse with each round.

Despite all that, I managed to make dinner for 9 last night, and went to see Glen perform at the City Winery.  It was a late show, but totally worth it (He wrote me a song and performed it, and broke my heart a little.   What a thing).  Also worth mentioning that this round marks the half way point!  Just three more bloody months to go.

All right.  I’m taking my dog, and I’m going to bed.