Pinky Pie

Chemotherapy math & Me

Posted on: December 4, 2009

A piece of A pie, but not chemotherapy pie eaten.

Fractions made easy ...

Back in the third grade, my teacher described me as a “math whiz.” I was never much of a numbers person, but I guess I learned my multiplication facts easily in third grade.

This math wizardry didn’t last past high school and I never took calculus. In fact, I have no idea what calculus is.

With this chemotherapy thing, I do the math constantly.

With all apologies for those who love pie, think of my chemotherapy as a two-flavored pie divided into eight pieces. Each piece represents a chemotherapy session.

The first four were pretty distasteful; I’m not sure why I kept eating them. I ate four pieces of Adriamycin/Cytoxan pie and finished them – that was half the pie. It’s also 100 percent of half a pie. Or 100 percent of the yucky stuff. Or 50 percent of the entire pie.

I’ve had one piece from the other half of the Taxol pie and today I’ll have another, assuming my blood counts are high enough. They should; I’ve had booster shots for my white cells and red cells with my treatments. And I’m feeling really good.

As of today, I’ll have eaten six pieces of pie.  If you do the math, that is three-fourths of the way through. Or you could say, I’ll be 75 percent the way through the entire pie and 50 percent through the other half of the pie.

Matt with Howdy Doody. It probably was no older than age 4.

This math thing reminds me of a story, but what doesn’t remind me of a story? Back when Matt was little, we used to get the Penney’s holiday gift catalog. Four-year-old Matt loved looking at the toys in the catalog.

The one he just loved the most was the  Howdy Doody ventriloquist dummy. He never saw the TV show, which featured Buffalo Bob Smith and the freckled-faced Howdy who had 48 freckles for each state then in the union.

Matt wanted Howdy very badly and his dad and I grew up on Howdy Doody, which was on television from 1947 to 1960 – and was very, very pre Sesame Street.

Matt got Howdy as a gift. He carried it around with him and just loved the little guy.

Howdy came with a record with some of the techniques for learning ventriloquism. One was Matt’s favorite:

Buffalo Bob: “If I had three apples and you asked for one, how many would I have left?”

Howdy: “Two. Two. Two.”

Buffalo Bob: “No, three. You asked for one, but I didn’t give you one.”

Matt thought it was hysterical. So did we, especially that he wanted to act that routine out constantly. He played Buffalo Bob.

So the real question, is what kind of role model was Buffalo Bob being on children’s television?  He certainly wasn’t teaching math. Was he teaching selfishness? Boy that’s something we all need to learn. 🙂

By the way, there is no need to eat that pie that I discussed earlier. I’m going to hog it. And if you want an apple, I’ll give you one.


2 Responses to "Chemotherapy math & Me"

Hi Sue: I’m supposed to be catching up on my holiday desk work (i.e., scads of Christmas cards, all with handwritten notes & letters), but I decided to catch up with what’s going on with you.

Seventy-five percent done. Way to go!! I know this hasn’t been an easy time for you, but you’ve been handling it in the most remarkable way. Feel guilty that I haven’t kept closer tabs on you or done anything special for you. But that’s not to mean that I don’t think of you often!!

This breast cancer bug seems to be biting a lot of women since late summer. Three more cases that I know of since you, including two daughters of those friends of mine in NC–you know, that 90-yr. old former IBM editor, who also happens to be a mandolin player.

I’ve been spending way too much time at Fran Skemp–nothing so serious that another regime of pills can’t handle, but I’ve turned into my mother on that count–now up to 14/day and 9 of those are Rx. Egads–and I’m so darn young too!!

Keep truckin’ along, dear friend. So glad that your family was able to come for Thanksgiving, and will be returning soon. So Michael has a girlfriend. Wedding Bells again???

Thoughts of You, Prayers & Graditude for You, and A Permanent Spot in my Heart. M. 🙂

There once a cartoon with Howdy Doody called Howdy Doody and His Magic Hat. Buffalo Bob Smith hated the cartoon so much that he burned a copy of it. Much like the same principle as Groucho Marx burned the negative of Humor Risk.

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