as promised

Another dose of humility.

By evening time on tuesday, I could really feel my skin starting to react to the erbitux.  Strange that the first week it did almost nothing, but then snapped to with the dose on monday.  It has been getting progressively worse and more evident since.  The slight embarrassment at looking like a pimply teen aside, it is incredibly painful (much more so than it looks).  A feeling that mixes the best parts of deep seeded acne and wind/sunburn.  It occurs to me that this is the first side effect that has a really visible manifestation.  (um..  what about loosing all your hair and getting all freckly from the 5fu last time, Caldwell?  Oh yeah..  right.  but that wasn’t ugly.. or painful).  What I mean is that you can’t SEE nausea or chemo brain or headache or joint pain.  Last time I went through a 6 month stint of chemo people would say, “gosh.. but you look great!” and I could say, “thanks.. I’m hanging in there..”  Already this time it’s different.  People see me and ask how I’m doing, and I feel compelled to explain why I don’t look so good.. “the chemo’s really kicking the shit out of me.”

I don’t love it.  It will get much worse.

My energy level has been ok.  The monday top up only set me back for a day or so.  Wednesday I felt more or less energetic and I’ve been holding steady since then.  So the addition of the off week dose seems like it’ll shorten, but not do away with, my every other week window of feeling ok.

We had a great Thanksgiving.  In the end we were a motley crew of around 20 people.  I dry-brined the turkey this year, which is a misnomer, but it’s what I’ve been calling it anyway.  Brine, by definition, is wet.  True brining is also kind of messy and takes up a lot of room in your fridge since you need a container that can hold everything.  Instead I made a dry rub of salt and zizzed up herbs, covered the bird with it, and put it in the fridge in an oven bag for a few days.

Last year, some of you may remember, I dressed the turkey in a bacon sweater.  This year, when I stopped by the pig folks at the farmer’s market, they were already out of bacon, but had fat back for a dollar a pound.  NICE!  So this year the turkey got a down comforter!!

Perhaps not as cute as the sweater, but let me tell you, it did the trick!  It was without question the best bird I’ve made.  Super tender breast meat without the sogginess that can happen if you’re not careful with brine. After just 15 years or so of making thanksgiving dinner, I think I’ve landed on the way I like to do the bird.

0 Replies to “as promised”

  1. You make some of the best food. I need to dine with you some day.

    As for feeling like Job, I know the story well. You have had a rough o of things in the last two years. You have taken this beating with grace and dignity. Never feeling sorry for yourself and never asking, “why me?”. Although deep down I am certain these feelings of hopelessness have crept in.

    Through all of it you cooked diner for Thanksgiving. In some respects. It truly is a time foe reflection for you. Much more than many other people. I wish you well. I wish you did not have to go through this pain again.

  2. that sounds really painful. here’s to you man. sorry you have to go thru this, but thankful you’re alive and kicking. thanksgiving looks great

  3. Hang in there. The fact that you made an entire Thanksgiving dinner (and a gorgeous one at that) AND are able to compose compelling self-portraits on top of going through chemo and the mind/bodyfuck of cancer is impressive as hell. Sorry to hear it’s so very painful. You’re doing it with grace.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Ez.. glad you got to share it with all your friends and family… I know how much this holiday means to you. Love to you – la

  5. The turkey looks so, so cute with this suit!, I wish you a very good time with your friends and family enjoying the dinner. When I saw the picture I felt pain for you and i want you to know that from here (in Spain) I send you all my strength to follow through with courage and dignity. Lots of hugs.

  6. well, on the bright side, you look about fifteen years younger!! amazing what a little facial acne can do to take years off your age. Maybe you can try some calendula cream on your skin to help soothe some of the pain. Hanging in there with you Dear, and the Turkey looks absolutely amazing!

  7. Ezra,
    Rooting for you daily and hoping that as each day passes you start to feel better.

    Calendula cream (as mentioned) is helpful with sore skin also if you can, get 100% essential oil of Lavender it is very very soothing.
    Apart from that, cool face cloths – lots of rest and be kind to yourself.

    Much luv as always, Carole xx

  8. I saw your face and just wished I had something that could make the cancer flee from your body.

    I’m in seminary, and I hear people pray for health and relief from disease. I don’t know (if the Divine exists) and if she does that kind of stuff, but I guess that’s a version of hoping for a way to make the illness flee from another’s body.

    Stay warm. Nice fat blanket.

  9. I ditto the calendula cream idea. You might want to add a few drops of tea tree oil to it as well. That might ease some of the pain of the acne. Hang in there Ezra.

    The bird sounds amazing.

  10. Wow, you’re making me hungry. Perhaps you could start a ‘home-cooked’ take-out business?
    Good luck with all the treatments. I have seen the word dignity used a few times in the comments here and there are not too many truly dignified people in the world. You are certainly tackling this stage of your life with dignity (and a certain panache in the kitchen!). All the best to you.

  11. I hate that you have to go through this, Ez. But when you’re foing through hell, dont stop sight see. Hang in there, brother.
    P. S. I’d love to know your dry brine recipe.

  12. For me, careful washes with a super mild soap, blot dry, then immediate application of aquaphor ointment or cetephil cream helped the pain, but it doesn’t go away. Don’t know if I mentioned the oddest moment on that stuff was when I trimmed my eyelashes, badly. Let us know the toe situation after a bit too. It’s working!!

  13. Ugh, that sucks. I know you’ve got a long haul, but you’re doing it! Always in our thoughts – love and strength from Philly.


    PS: Down comforter – pure genius.

  14. I was going to suggest the lavender and the tea tree oil, but thought I don’t know enough to. But since other people did, maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. 🙂

    I winked your way while in Philly last week… and my bro’s savory port turkey jus was pretty damn good too! Hang in there man.

  15. hey Ez
    You look like me now! only sorta kidding 😉 Happy thanksgiving! been thinking about you a lot lately! I’ve been sick this week and writing a paper but thanksgiving always makes me think of you and hill as the thanksgiving I got to spend with you was the best yet. You might look into witch hazel. its available in drugstores and it is a mild astringent that helps with sores and swelling they say it also helps sooth sunburn and helps with cracked skin and bug bites. so it might not only help the acme but the pain. Hope that helps, Missing you lots

  16. You look like a boy I had a crush on in high school now. I hadn’t thought of John in years. 🙂

    I’m sorry this is so unfun.

    You know, when I miscarried, my ex boyfriend sent me a bedazzler to cheer me up. You could have it if you want, to jazz up your suspenders or colostomy bags….

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