My Right Eye Wouldn’t Open!

It would be awesome to reach the ripe old age of 145 except there is one main drawback: The body rots. When I read about living supercentenarians, I can’t help but analyze their photographs. I see leathery skin with more wrinkles than a sharpei puppy, tired eyes half closed in the middle of what looks like bags of potatoes, and sunken mouths. Okay, in fairness, exceptions do exist, but they are still ancient frail packages of  bones wrapped with parched skin, ravaged by time but still breathing.

In all the interviews, supercentenarians answer the question, What’s the secret of your longevity? I don’t remember reading them answering the question, How many medical maladies have you survived? Should I ever become a supercentenarian, I’d insist that the interviewer ask me the question because I have plenty to brag about. Of course I’m assuming when that time comes,  I’m not frantically shuffling around asking everybody, Who am I? Who’s my Daddy? with panic in my eyes.

Which takes me back to my most recent mysterious medical experience that occurred in the small hours of one morning last August. Something happened to my right eye that woke me up. I cupped my hand over it and it felt like a mound of pebbles. I thought, What could that be? I moved my fingers to my left eye. It felt normal. I tried to blink my right eye but it wouldn’t open. I pried it open with my fingers and I could see the lights amidst the darkness of the bedroom. I alternated opening each eye and confirmed that both eyes did have vision. Finally, I tried to resume my disrupted sleep, but couldn’t. I had this crying need to look at the mirror to see what happened to my right eye.

In front of the bathroom mirror, I pried open my right eye and what I saw shocked me. My right eyeball was 100% textured pitch black. Amazingly I had this calm feeling, a sense that everything was going to be all right. I returned to snoring.

That morning, while my little sister and I were sipping our hot coffee, she asked about my right eye. In response I deadpanned, We can’t keep much longer our family secret….that I am half-Filipino, half Roswell alien.

My insurance eye care center took me in as an emergency patient later that morning. A parade of eye care technicians went through the motions to check my vision, eye pressure, and blood pressure. They ordered me around.  Put your chin here, your forehead here. Read this, look at my ear. Don’t blink.   They asked if I was taking blood thinners. I answered no every time.  Soon the Big Kahuna – the real doctor of Ophthalmology, the one specialized in diseases of the eyes – sashayed into the examination room.   A comely young Caucasian with fascinatingly arched eyebrows that seemed to announce, C’est moi!, she asked me if I experienced pain then or before the event. I said no.  She gave her verdict: This thing happens for no reason. No worries. Nothing needs to be done but I want you to moisturize your eyes several times a day.

Come on!  Some doctors are just so stingy with their knowledge as if their brains would shrink if they shared a little.

You’d think that since I had dodged the bullet, I’d just be happy with the good doctor’s pronouncement.  Oh no, not me.  I’m an engineer; I needed to know why I was suddenly outed as part Roswell alien.  I needed to unlock the mysterious secret that Dr C’est Moi was keeping from me.

At this point I invoke the mother of all disclaimers. I am not giving medical advice here because I am not a physician.  The only claim to fame I have related to the medical profession is that I happen to personally know a man who is doing time in prison for impersonating a doctor in Saudi Arabia.

I rushed to Google University (GU) and audited the course Eyeballs 101.

On one site, a man had the same story as mine but a major headache preceded his episode. A real doctor decided the root of his problem was brain-related. It made sense for him but not for me. No aches anywhere preceded mine.

Discussions in one legitimate medical website after another cover bleeding of the eye capillaries. They all agree the hemorrhage is not serious, contagious, chronic, acute,   hereditary, terminal, all the words I wanted to read. Straining  can cause it, which made sense to me.  Immediately before my eye hemorrhage event, I had battled constipation, given it my best shot and won.

So I bought Dr C’est Moi’s verdict, but when I asked her how long before my right eye would return to normal, she answered, Very long time, which sounded to me at my age, like, Be prepared to take it to the grave.  I refused to buy that. Besides, I only intend to take to the grave the few remaining teeth in my head.  I went back to GU to find the answer to my question.

Professional boxers’ faces get pummeled by their superior opponents and their eyes become swollen black and blue and the eyeballs bloodied inside like my capillary hemorrhage.  I have seen fighters during and after bouts, then weeks later, they are on TV being interviewed, looking normal, as if nothing ever happened.  So in my search, I asked the question, How long does it take for boxers’ shiners to return to normal? One professional trainer said, If your eyes don’t seem to get well in three weeks, see your doctor. I liked that.  I noticed on the fourth day of my episode, the normally white part of my eyeball had turned from tar black to purple, which meant my body had been absorbing the blood.  Amazing. As of posting time, my right eye is back to normal. I’m batting my lashes again at anyone who makes eye contact.

Life after retirement has indeed thrown me a domino of problems. My aging body is drying up,  which causes constipation, which causes straining, which causes eye hemorrhage.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is my battle cry!

Which takes me back to the supercentenarians.  They probably don’t go for the jugular when they battle constipation, proving that sometimes, Win some lose some is a healthy proposition.



















Moving on After the Storm


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Octo’s sudden demise was like another wayward wind in my life.  It blew in and blew out, and once again, I’m in the corner of Healthy and Happy, amazingly standing upright, with not a tress of silver hair out of place. It happens when the serial widow believes she can walk on water from the eye of the storm across to dry land. It’s all in the head!

I’ve had 2 blood tests in the CO-1686 non-trial without Octo.  By the way, both times, Dr Brevity assured me, Labs are good. In Octo’s place as caregiver was my baby sister who is 7 years younger than me, size petite small, colors her shiny page-boy hair squid-ink black, wears junior style fashion, and dances like Emmitt Smith should be tossing her up in the air in Dancing with the Stars.  But I have an edge: I am a retired successful professional engineer. Big deal. She is a retired successful attorney! Ah, I remember, Youth’s inexperience is no match to the cunning of old age.

In the 60’s and 70’s I was a young chick pioneering in the engineering world which was then controlled by men.  As such, I encountered one spirit-crushing setback after another after another. It was in those years that I learned to vacate an adversarial situation quickly, let the past run through cleanly, conserve energy for the next battle, and eventually win the war.  Becoming a widow again 12 years after the first widowhood would require the same modus operandi if I choose to enjoy the stroll on the last mile of my life.  And that’s what I choose.  Sulking is so not me. Thus, the motivation behind this post:  I’ve accumulated so many nuggets of wisdom over a huge slice of a century that it would be a crying shame if I did not share them with those who give a damn. I am also kind of running out of justifications for my narcissism!

A few days after Octo’s death, my sister and three of my best girl friends flew or drove in from Dallas, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque to distract me from the isolation of grieving.  Upon their arrival, I noticed their furtive glances the first time I blasted a flattening laugh.  Is this a grieving widow in need of distraction? They must have wondered.

The ladies discovered that I have reinvented myself as Interior Designer Extraordinaire.  For a complete change of atmosphere, I bought a tiny house.  For the first time in my life, here is a house that is clearly mine, not my husband’s and mine or ours. It’s all mine to play with and in.  It reflects only my taste, which we do have to redefine taste.

In the Great Room, my bffs and I did my yoga poses together and delighted in the sounds of bones creaking.  Let’s go dancing, They offered after scouring the social activities in the newspaper of the over-55 gated community where I reside in Southern Orange County, California.  They did not have to drag me kicking and screaming.

To the dance we went. Thank goodness we have reached the age where the  male-female partnering rule has been bagged.  Amidst traditional dancing couples, we swung and swayed, boogied and chachaed until sweat beads formed on our foreheads. In between numbers we sipped water and ate cookies and raisins.  Yes, raisins in tiny corrugated paper cups. What were the refreshment committee members thinking? Soon, the dance event ended. It was 9:00 pm!  It happens when too many old people populate a retirement place and they need to be in the  snoring mode long before midnight.

The next item on the agenda was to establish a new routine, to find a group of fun people, those who share each other’s interest. The village boasts 200+ clubs and organizations that cater to all possible interests of humans and animals.  Dancers, knitters, bible thumpers, cat lovers, Republicans, horseback riders, photographers, health buffs, grievers, bridge players, ham radio operators.  Name it, the village has it.

The Foodies Club got my attention.  In its welcome material, the club defines a Foodie in a  long, drawn-out manner, which translates to a person who is extremely interested in food.  I attended a meeting to scope the club out. For an hour, while eating gourmet ice cream topped with a concoction chosen from an array, I listened to reports on existing restaurants closing, new restaurants opening, food service businesses for the home-bound, curious, or lazy, or all three, and an announcement about an upcoming Moroccan dinner.  The Foodies seemed a happy lot but they are no match to Cannabis Club members in the giddy department.

Whichever groups I decide to entertain myself with will have to wait.  Before I settle down to a new routine, I’m spending time with family and friends who have been very supportive. I’ll also re-establish old connections that had been disrupted. Then back to Southern Orange County for retirement resort living at its best. So the commercial says.

Bottom line: It’s all in the head. I can be as isolated or as involved as I choose. All I do is get a mindset, then say, Let’s do this!













A Ring-Side View of Hospice


, , , , , , , , , ,

The earliest I heard of the word hospice occurred when my first husband was hospitalized in 2004. He had been diagnosed with end-stage renal failure ten years back. We had known then that one day the kidney disease would rear its ugly head and we’d have to deal with the inevitable – the end of his life. That fateful day came. His condition worsened and his body system started to shut down. The head nurse reluctantly suggested hospice to me.  Equating hospice with death, the very word shocked me to the core.  Well, hospice did not have a chance after all. His deterioration hastened to a point where all the involved specialist physicians voted to give my family the dire option of removing my husband’s life support. Being the wife, I had the unenviable task of releasing his end-of-life directive: Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). The hospital bed literally became his death bed.

That was 12 years ago. Last month I watched my second husband, 82-year-old Octo, leave his body on his death bed after only 7 days in hospice. After 8 years of marriage, I became a serial widow.

Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, Octo’s health spiralled downward rapidly to death in 3 months following 3 treatments that included a clinical trial. He had been needing blood transfusions at least twice a week. Finally, his primary care physician mercifully recommended hospice.

Octo had always refused any talk of mortality stuff like last wills and testament, power of attorney, and end-of-life directive.  After the leukemia diagnosis, I told him, You and I are now in a race for the grave.  He did not appreciate graveyard humor, but his primary care physician forced him to come eyeball to eyeball with death.  You have three months my friend, stated Doctor Diplomacy.  For consolation, the good doctor added, You are not alone.  We all have a beginning, a middle, and an ending.  Octo eventually warmed up to the morbid sense of humor.

Henceforth, Octo and I discussed hospice as if we were talking about the movie for our next background acting project. We both thought hospice was a place, a building. Only at signing time did I realize that our manor would be the venue for the hospice action and I would be the hospice majordomo. Before Octo’s signature ink had dried, it suddenly hit me that the man who had been playing a major role in my life for the last 8 years would in fact be gone for good. Of course there was no guarantee that I would not exit this earth first, but the hospice reality was so there and then. I  choked up all day.

Hospice Day One started with the visit of the hospice nurse, an RN. She took Octo’s baseline of weight, blood pressure, pulse rate, arm circumference, etc. Still mobile, Octo slept a lot in the master bedroom or in the guest room. He had the run of the hospice house.

Day Two. Ms RN gave me, away from Octo’s sight, the inevitable patient needs: diapers, hospice journals, and Comfort Kit consisting of morphine, measuring syringe, Lorezapam drops for anxiety. She taught me when and how to dispense them.  In Octo’s face, she suggested a hospital bed. Bullshit! Declared Octo adamantly.

Day Three was uneventful.  He had a bite of a banana, the only food he wanted, and with water, his only intake for the day.  I did not force him to eat.  First, Octo was a hard-headed old mule.  Second, the purpose of hospice is neither to impede nor speed death but to let nature take its course.  A couple of times we laid in bed, he in a reflective mode and I a listener. I made many mistakes in my life, he said ruefully. I said, You sure did, and I laughed. He cracked a smile, no belly laugher, he.

Day Four. He did not want food, only water. He did not ask any more for his daily pre-hospice medicatons. A couple of times we laid in bed again, he reflecting some more. Long reminiscences.  My thoughts jumped between them and my strategizing of the next sushi dinner.  It happens when one is in the twilight zone, straddling one’s life and another’s imminent death. One needs protein.  He stayed in bed most of the time except when I caught him naked as a jaybird and trying to climb into the bathtub.  His body trembled, visibly too weak. You are going to fall! I screamed, and like football safety Junior Seau, I tackled Octo around the waist from behind. Big mistake! I did not have the required strength. He wiggled his body and sent us both on our butts on the tiled floor.  He tried to stand up.  Hold on to the wall! I screamed.  His trembling hands groped and grabbed the shower curtain and  the curtain rod came down on our heads.  Frustrated, I stood up. He sprawled out. After resting, he very laboriously, a few inches at a time, crawled toward the hall.

I decided it was the perfect opportunity to find out if the hospice’s touted 24-hour phone service really worked. It did, but Octo heard me talking. He yelled, Don’t call anybody! I don’t want those emergency people here! I replied, I called the hospice, our 911. You need help to get back on your bed. You need a hospital bed. Bullshit, he said. I’ll crawl to the bed. I answered, But you are facing the wrong direction! I gave him a pillow and he slept on the floor under the door jamb, half his body on the living room and the other half on the guest room.  I phoned a retired RN friend. She suggested I tell the hospice everything, or I could be blamed. That sure sent me shaking on my bare feet.  A pair of the hospice’s emergency personnel came and collected Octo from the floor and relocated him to the bed. The RN did his vitals and made Octo promise to not escape from the bed.

Day Five. Hospice delivered a hospital bed and a side table. Two burly men came and transferred Octo from the guest bed to the hospital bed.  To my surprise, Octo thanked them, then went to sleep. After the hospice people were gone, he opened his eyes, and insisted, Get me out of this hospital bed! I replied, Help yourself.  I knew he couldn’t.  A hospice health aide gave him a sponge bath and a clean shirt, changed his wet diapers, and cleaned his mouth using toothettes. To the aide’s amusement and mine, Octo motioned to receive a repeat of the mouth washing. He returned to deep sleep afterward.

Day Six. Having no food for four days, no water for two days, and no blood transfusion for a week, Octo was nearly comatose. He breathed laboriously through an open mouth. He fidgeted and grimaced. The hospice RN told me as she changed his diapers, Those are signs of anxiety or pain and time has come for anxiety drops, then eventually, morphine.

Day Seven. The hospice RN gave Octo a sponge bath, changed his shirt and diaper. He slept throughout the process.  That night, his breathing was so heavy and loud it could be heard from the other room.  Then suddenly, around 2:00 a.m., an eerie silence blanketed the house.  I called hospice. The RN came, declared Octo dead, and made one phone call after another.  The mortuary people arrived, followed by huge uniformed law enforcement men, presumably to ensure no foul play was involved. Presumptions like that happen when the hospice majordomo is an Investigation Discovery True Crime junkie. Finally the RN showed me how to properly dispose of all the leftover drugs.

Soon, hospice people were gone.  My first husband’s brother and his wife both of whom had uncannily arrived five hours earlier to give me loving moral support marched to their bedroom. In my bedroom, after laying myself down to sleep, I let out a huge sigh of relief that might have reverberated up to the next zip code. The sigh released my body’s tension, relaxing every fiber of my being.  It was Liberation Day for Octo and me! He gained freedom from the agony of pain. I became free to flee from the twilight zone, armed with new knowledge and an appreciation for life as well as for death.

I’m back focused on life. I still have some living to do.  Like my favorite song says, “I’m gonna live, live, live until I die. …..Before my number’s up, I’m gonna fill my cup..”…Then I’ll have another hospice experience, but that’s for another storyteller, another day.












My CO-1686 Cramps in Hands, Legs, and Feet


, , , ,

I get a kick out of warning anyone who is younger than me to never ever get old because getting old is not for amateurs.  Of course all I get is the same look that I used to give a 25-year-old girl friend of mine when I was 18 years old and at the peak of self-perceived youthful pulchritude: the puppy-dog eyes that said, You wretched old maid!

For one week last month, I experienced something that I had never experienced in my youth: Leg cramps or Charley Horses.  They woke me up in the middle of every night. Those twisters hurt!  Fortunately, getting out of bed and pacing took care of the cramps.  Night after night, one leg or the other cramped. Then one morning as I was chopping onions for a breakfast omelet, my fingers locked in position.

Something is wrong with me! I announced to my husband Octo.  His eyes peeked above the LA Times front page and said with an inflection, Well? He probably wanted to add, So what else is new?

One day the cramping reached a crescendo.  Entered the mother of all Charley Horses. Both my legs cramped simultaneously, sending me writhing in pain in a spread-eagle position on top of the bed! I screamed and cried real tears.  The live drama affected Octo profoundly.  He had been used to the roar of laughter, not cries of anguish. Let us try massage, he offered. He got a jar of what smelled like Ben-Gay and applied the stuff on my calves and feet with his limp fingers. Give it more pressure, I groaned. He continued with the limp strokes then asked, Does that feel better?   Poor Octo! He meant so well that I did not have the heart to scream, THAT IS NOT MASSAGING; THAT IS FONDLING! Seeing no relief on my face, he quit and gave me two Ibuprofens, which I took enthusiastically.  I would have swallowed anything to alleviate the pain. I would have opened my mouth as wide as a sinkhole and let him pour my leftover MMJ (medical marijuana) appetite drops down my throat. In about 30 minutes, my ten toes pointed in the proper direction and my whole body relaxed.

As soon as I could stand, I rushed to Google University (GU) and did some serious research on this Charley Horse thing.

To gain wide-range knowledge, I went general: “Cramps.” Bam! Out came all sorts of information on cramps during menstrual periods.  It cracked me up. I gave up periods several decades ago.

I fine-tuned the search: “Cramps without periods.” Wham! Things got worse.  Titles on cramps during pregnancy scrolled down one after another.

I was batting zip!  GU and I were in Miscommunication City big time. However, the results gave me a rude awakening that shocked me totally.  I could not believe other women also suffer from cramps. How could that be possible? It happens when the blogger thinks the sun only rises for her.

I went straight to the point: “Cramps in legs, hands, and feet.”  Bingo!  The site listed causes of and treatments for the malady.

According to GU, exercising, lack of potassium and magnesium, dehydration, can cause  cramps in the legs, feet, and hands especially of older people because they lose muscles  and the remaining muscles get overstressed easily.

Right off the bat  I eliminated rociletinib as the cause. After almost 2-1/2 years on the CO-1686 now-non-clinical trial with no such side effect, why now?  Of course, anything is possible. Next, I eliminated lack of magnesium and potassium because Dr Brevity always assures me, The labs are good.  Exercising did not factor in because I was quietly minding my own business snoring when each one-leg cramp happened. I was sitting on the edge of the bed planning on painting my toenails acid green when the spread-eagle Charley Horse occurred.

Dehydration emerged as the clear perp.  Facts supported it.  The morning before the Mother of all Charley Horses attacked, I had taken an hour leisurely walk along the leafy creek. To protect me from the sun, I used the Royal Umbrella, the one Octo had bought as a souvenir at the Buckingham Palace during our 2009 trip. Never a souvenir enthusiast, I remember musing at that time, Oh for stiff-upper-lip’s sakes, an umbrella souvenir from England!  I’d buy a souvenir reminiscent of the British Empire history like a miniature replica of the guillotine that chopped off Anne Boleyn’s head.

I recall that after returning home from the walk, I perspired profusely.  I probably just drank enough water to quench my thirst when I should have chug-a-lugged a quart more to replace the fluids lost from my remaining muscles.  Plus, during the week of the nightly one-leg cramp, my body had already been talking to me about needing hydration. The root of the Charley Horse problem: I had stopped practicing what I preach, Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! It happens when the senior babe reverts to denial mode that she’s been turning into a prune for quite some time.

It’s been a month since I resumed conscious hydration.  Neither Mrs Charley Horse nor any of her nasty kids has come to visit.

GU came through again! And incidentally the latest scans and labs are Stable and Unremarkable respectively. The CO-1686 non-trial keeps on truckin’.


A footnote on Octo:

In the time span between the draft and the publication of this post, Octo signed on to hospice.  He had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in March. My once-super-healthy 82-year-old caregiver and I have traded places unwittingly. He had been in the front-row seat of my cancer journey and now I have a ring-side view of his hospice care. Devotions take turns as the world turns.





My CO-1686: Elevated Liver Enzymes


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The liver enzyme elevation was just another episode in Feisty Heifer’s continuing saga in the CO-1686 clinical trial boat as it sails toward the sunset.  I want to share the story because (a) it has useful information for anyone who cares to know, and (b) I get my jollies out of fantasizing that some people actually read my blog.

Two weeks before the ODAC speech trip in April, I had my regularly scheduled blood analysis and consultation with the Good Doctor. The drill has become second-nature to the registration clerk who asks me every time if anything has changed in my insurance, to the phlebotomist who draws my blood with a smile and a small personal story that I draw from her, to the trial coordinator who collects my now-inconsequential dosing diary, and to Dr Brevity who zooms in and out of my life in a fraction of an hour. Usually he tells me, The labs are good, and proceeds to the stethoscope motions that signal the end of me in his busy schedule. But that day was fateful.  Your liver enzymes are elevated, he muttered.  How elevated ? I asked, perturbed, but with the unmistakeable air of authority of a blogger who trawls Google University (GU), I added, Are you talking about ALT and AST?  Yes, he answered, and gave me the numbers: ALT 125 (normal range 7-52) and  AST 88 (normal range 13-39) then asked, What have you been eating? Seafood?

OMG! My liver enzymes were more than twice the normal upper range.  Suddenly visions of my liver oozing toxic crud into my bloodstream flashed in my head. I thought for a moment, then light dawned.  I remembered lately I had been eating a lot of deep-fried oysters and loading up on sushi for no celebratory reason. I am simply an environmental eater kinda old chick.  Place a heaping platter of jalapeno-topped nachos in front of me while we chat and next thing we know they’ve evaporated. That’s assuming the bar maid is plying us with ice-cold cerveza.  For my conversation with Dr Brevity, I limited the verbiage to oysters. You have to be careful with those things, he warned. I disagreed and tried to dazzle him with scientific data:  I fry the oysters in 375-degree Fahrenheit hot oil for 6 minutes, enough to kill the pathogens. Unimpressed, he strode out of the examination room and moved on with his life.

As soon as I got home, I rushed to GU and audited some courses. At this point, I must recite the mother of all disclosures. I am not a physician. My academic attainment closest to a medical degree is that the Big Kahuna of Lung Cansah Research refers to me as “the diva.” I’m not dispensing medical advice; I just have this crying need to showcase the diva’s Inner Healer.

First, GU gives definitions of ALT and AST. Translated simply, they are stuff that may indicate liver damage. According to GU, 2 to 3 times the normal value of ALT and AST is considered mild. The mild elevations might be caused by food, alcohol, or certain drugs. Maybe the numbers are something to worry about, maybe not.  I zeroed in on the worry angle. Worrying in moderation is good. It starts the brain to focus on a problem and find solutions.

I eliminated CO-1686 as the cause of my liver enzyme elevation because why now after having been on the trial for nearly 2-1/2 years? Of course, anything is possible.  I assumed for one second that oysters were the culprit, then thought, Nah! I had been eating those things raw since time immemorial with no consequences except serious allergic reaction early on, which I fought and beat resulting in immunity to oysters. Of course, my self-styled immunotherapy at age 8 could have killed me. I’d even dare say those oysters were contaminated because growing up in the Manila slum where hunger trumped hygiene, contaminants were a staple in the diet. It was a place where sanitary food, when ingested, induced withdrawal symptoms. So I searched for other causes of elevated liver enzymes that might match my circumstances.

I read that overexercising can aggravate muscles and cause them to release ALT and AST that adversely affect liver enzyme tests.  Now, we’re cookin’! In the week preceeding the blood test, my husband Octo had fallen ill and was confined in a hospital just outside our gated community.  Being the perfect wife that I fancy myself as, I visited him daily.  I also figured it was a great opportunity to get my exercise out of the way.  Talk about exercise! My daily visit involved an hour round trip uphill, downhill brisk walk.  Call that my cardio.  My arms got their workout as I waved them vigorously at the gate guards.  The big smile that I flashed to anybody who made eye contact exercised my facial muscles. The spring in my steps massaged my calves.  It happens when one wears Z-Coil shoes.

I remember at the end of that week, I felt like I had been trampled by stampeding bulls.  Every muscle of my body ached.  It admonished me that all I need at my age is a leisurely 20-minute walk along a leafy creek – not the Bataan Death March kind of trek.

I listened to my body like I have always done.  I chilled in the physical exercise department in the three weeks leading to the next blood test.

The day of reckoning came.

Labs are good, muttered Dr Brevity. How about the elevated liver enzymes? I asked. What liver enzymes? he countered. He had already forgotten about them and nothing about them in the report grabbed his face. The one-off problem had resolved.

Fresh oysters tossed in my homemade gumbo sounds pretty yummy right now.

















My Fourth Cancerversary and the Phantom of CO-1686


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What a difference four years can make! Think of it. In four years, a 14-year-old can become a high school senior, collect his diploma, get buzzed at a graduation party, and wake up to complain about feeling disenfranchised. The change is even bigger for younger children. My son told me that his son, my only grandchild, then five years old, couldn’t grasp the concept of rhymes. My son would ask his son, What rhymes with cat, and he’d proudly answer Dog! I was floored. I thought, This is not the genius I had envisioned. Clearly my DNA is not coursing through the kid’s veins. Four years later, he emailed me his desk-published book about the ramifications of sunsets complete with illustrations and a poem – a remarkable piece of creative work by a nine-year-old boy.  I did a “Yes!” and secretly apologized to the future Artiste Extraordinaire and thanked heavens I had witnessed my grandson’s metamorphosis. I can hardly wait for the budding intellectual to get his driver’s license and take his “Abi” Miss Daisy for a spin and bonding time.

Four years ago – 2012 – an oncologist diagnosed me with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Stage 4.  In the span of four years, I experienced treatment with Tarceva for 20 months followed by rociletinib of CO-1686.

I reviewed my blog archives and saw no post in June 2013 about my first cancerversary. For one thing, the blog was not even a glint in my eyes that year. For another, my first Onc had given me a dire prognosis – only eight months to live without treatment, a year at the most with treatment.  The weight of the death sentence jarred my head and exiled all writing thoughts to another universe. Thus, on my first cancerversary it’s safe to guess that I was probably eating deep-fried oysters, pouring cold beer down my throat, sitting in a lotus position and waiting to keel over dead any moment. Mr Reality Check barged in, shook my head, and said, Tarceva whacked your lung cancer to remission seven months ago. What is your problem? Stunned, I must have stood up abruptly, spilled my beer, and staggered on with my life toward my second cancerversary.

I could not find any account of my second cancerversary either. I reviewed the blog archives and read all of  my June 2014  posts.  The posts glowed with CO-1686 initial promises and the awesome positivity with which my body was responding to it. The posts chronicled gung ho blow-by-blow accounts of my early days in the trial, about getting the stock market excited over my CO-1686,  about cancer diagnosis not a death sentence, yada, yada………My exhuberance was palpable!  What was I thinking? While I was at it, I could also have gushed about my second cancerversary. But no, not me. I was so intensely focused.  What cancerversary? It happens when multi-tasking talent eludes the blogger. For the same reason, my Physical Education teacher had tactfully excused me from a folk dancing group in grade school. I could not dance and listen to music at the same time.

In 2015, my third cancerversary blog post covered catharsis and ramblings about my shock upon receiving the cancer diagnosis.  It also made up for the missing accounts of the first two cancerversaries amidst a maze of convoluted wordy distractions.

Now June 2016, my fourth cancerversary, I look back in amazement at the advances made in the treatment of my type of lung cancer. When my cancer cart started rolling in 2012, outside of chemotherapy, the one-a-day pill Tarceva (erlotinib) was the only drug in US oncologists’ medicine cabinets.  Now Gilotrif (afatinib), and Tagrisso (osimertinib) keep Tarceva company. Poksceva (rociletinib) would have gladly joined them but since the trial sponsor decided to discontinue its pursuit of FDA approval, the brand name Poksceva now resides only in my head.

Love that brand name Poksceva! It has an exotic ring to it, a sense that one trial participant had an epiphany about it while trying to commune with her pole dancing inner goddess. Okay, I confess: a nosy reader came up with the moniker and the name-the-drug contest judge – that would be “moi” – adopted it.

The sponsor is phasing out the CO-1686 trial by attrition.  The result of my most recent CTscan showed STABLE. Hah! There’s no folding the trial for now.  I credit my durability to the notion that I once belonged to the family of Phantom, the comic strip hero, but I was banished from the jungle because thunder thighs didn’t look menacing in the family’s purple tights uniform.  As I spoke in Maryland last April imploring ODAC to recommend approval of rociletinib, I secretly wished for cousin THE Phantom to appear out of nowhere and save CO-1686, but it was not to be.

Meh! Things happen, but as long as the sponsor does not demand the return of the key to the silo holding the pills that keep on kicking my T790M, Dr Brevity, Poksceva, and I will soldier on.

I join in spirit anyone out there who is doing the happy dance to celebrate anything!







My CO-1686 The Six-Minute Speech


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Okay, folks! Let’s prepare for the water works. Get the tissues and handkerchiefs out. A tearjerker of a speech is just ahead.

First, for the speech writing class, here’s a small background. My handler emailed me the following outline for the speech:

You name and age

·         A brief sentence to share that Clovis support your travel – “Clovis Oncology supported my travel here today.”

·         A few sentences about yourself – your family, what you do for a living, connections with your community, etc. – all to give a picture of your life before your diagnosis

·         When you were diagnosed and your diagnosis – details you feel comfortable sharing about the severity of your diagnosis

·         A few sentences about what treatments you received prior to rociletinib and the success or failures of those treatments

·         Your experience with rociletinib and what adjustments and decisions you made with your physician – adjusting dose to manage glucose levels, any issues with rash but stayed on product as it was manageable

·         Your life since rociletinib – what you have returned to doing

·         Why you traveled to be at the meeting to share your story, what you want the committee to remember about your story as they consider their decision – e.g., The issue of resistance and need for additional therapies for patients with T790M mutation

I thought, OMG, how am I going to squeeze all that information in a written six-minute speech, actually shorter than that because I’d have to gasp for air after a comma, a longer gasp after a period?  That’s what my grade school teacher had drilled in my head. And since we’re talking about a senior babe whose age encompasses a huge chunk of a century, how will I condense an autobiography the size of War and Peace into a 4-1/2 minute piece of literature and still keep the essence of the story? Such a monumental task!  Enter the caped Inner Genius to whom nothing is insurmountable. Voila! The speech:

My name is Celia Ruiz Tomlinson. I am a 75-year-old lung cancer patient.

First of all, I thank the Board for allowing me to share my experience with lung cancer, and Clovis Oncology for making my trip possible.

I am a retired engineer/entrepreneur, a published author and a professional motivational speaker.

Growing up in a Manila slum awash with rotting trash and human waste, I transcended numbing poverty and became a civil engineer in the mid 1960’s when female engineers were unheard of. Buoyed by that success, I came to the United States in 1968 legally, alone with only $300 and my engineer’s diploma.  To my rude awakening, the American engineers confronted me with fierce resistance.  Through sheer tenacity, I gained acceptance.

In 1983 I founded an engineering company with $2000 from my own pocket. As its President and CEO, I grew the firm and received national entrepreneurial leadership awards. Twenty-five years later, in 2008, I sold the business and retired.

Four years into retirement, in the summer of 2012, I had a cough that didn’t seem to go away.  A visit to my doctor led to an image of a golf-ball-sized tumor at the bottom of my left lung and tiny nodules too many to count in both lungs.  Biopsy followed.  The diagnosis:  Non-small cell lung cancer, Stage Four. Prognosis:  8 months to live – a year at most.

True to character, I faced the dire prognosis with aplomb. But spunk alone can’t fight cancer. Drugs are needed.  At that time, FDA had just approved Tarceva for first-line treatment of my type of cancer.  My oncologist put me on Tarceva 150 milligrams daily.  No immediate side effects for one week.  On the eighth day, rash blanketed my face and chest.  The dosage was cut in half and the rash went away. After 100 days on Tarceva, the main tumor shrank 80%.  Subsequent CTscans showed stability.  My quality of life was good.

After 20 months on Tarceva, my oncologist suspected resistance and suggested that I participate in the rociletinib clinical trials.  Having qualified, I was accepted.

I took 1500 milligrams of rociletinib daily.  For four months, no side effects. My quality of life was great.  On the fifth month my blood sugar elevated. My oncologists and I worked with Metformin to control the hyperglycemia. Later we reduced the rociletinib dosage to 1000 milligrams.  One day I went on a 3-day drug vacation. When I resumed medication, the hyperglycemia mysteriously disappeared.

I have been on rociletinib now for two years, stable, with zero side effects the last twelve months. My awesome quality of life allows me to blog, inform and inspire other cancer patients.

Today is a far cry from that summer day of 2012 when the first oncologist sort of declared me “dead woman walking.” I implore the Board to please remember my story when deciding on the fate of rociletinib.  A cancer drug affects each patient differently.  It has been very good to me and other patients.  Therefore having more approved drugs is better than having less.

Thank you.

It was the quietest event in my platform speaking history. There was no laughter, no applause, nothing but the sound of my voice through the microphone and eerie silence.  It was a somber occasion, a plea for approval of a cancer drug.

Where’s the tearjerker? Just before blog post time, reliable sources informed me that the drug sponsor made a business decision to discontinue the pursuit of FDA approval of rociletinib, stop recruitment of participants for the trials, and focus its resources on the ongoing development of another more promising drug.  Rociletinib will never see commercialization. The cancer medicine brand “Poksceva” (that’s what my blog buddies and I named it!) will never be an option for non-small cell cancer patients with T790M mutation.

What about me?! I asked in horror. At this point, this is all about me. Your latest CTscans and blood work are still good. You’ll continue to be given the pills, my contact assured me. In other words, the program will be shut down through attrition. The pills contained in a silo somewhere in the Rockies are there for me.  Henceforth, it’s me and my CO-1686 against the world.  Okay, that’s just a touch of drama. I’m sure there are others out there in my situation.

Let’s conclude the post on an upbeat note. During the speech delivery, there were no stumbles. The word “rociletinib” tumbled from my lips perfectly enunciated at every mention, I toed the earnest line, and finished the speech under the allotted time.  The official timer, the noose man in the ceiling, never had a chance. A Blue Ribbon performance at Toastmasters Club! It’s time for a self-award.  Let me retrieve the calligraphy pen from the bequest box. Now, that definitely calls for a celebration.

Happy dance, Feisty Heifer!



My CO-1686: Speech! Speech!


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Early last January, one top honcho of the CO-1686 trial sent me an email in which he swore me to secrecy. I was intrigued. My imagination immediately propelled me into the thick of a clandestine operation, the focus of endless conspiracy theories, and the stuff of  espionage. It happens when the blogger was, in the days of yore, delusional about being the next Bond girl opposite Sean Connery.

The subject of said email is now public knowledge, therefore the secrecy thing is so totally moot. However, while irreverence is a trait that I’m hell-bent to perpetuate through my DNA, I do respect privacy. The email went as follows, as is, punctuation marks or lack thereof, except as noted and edited for brevity.  Names of persons and places are fictionalized.

SUBJECT: A question for the diva

I have a question – well several questions I guess. 

First thing – how are you doing

Second thing – how are you doing on CO-1686 – side effects, any progression yet, and where are you getting treated now (I’m not sure what you call a patient who keeps changing doctors a polymedicinalist?)  I wanted to pick your brain re your general thoughts on the drug as company is contemplating FDA submission.  Let me know answers to above and maybe we could chat on phone as needed


My response:

Hello, (mild expletive and term of endearment deleted)!
Nice hearing from you. What a pleasant surprise! 
First thing – I am fine. It’s scary.
Second thing – CO-1686 has been very good to me. Except for the four months in 2014 that I had the trial-induced hyperglycemia, I have had zero side effects. And the hyperglycemia resolved off Metformin. There has been no progression so far. I will start Cycle 32 this coming Tuesday, 26 January. I’m still under the care of Dr. Brevity at Club Med. 
I am the self-proclaimed Poster Senior Babe of CO-1686! 
I’ll be glad to answer any questions.   


His Response:


That’s great

The drug will go to something called ODAC (oncology drugs advisory committee) of the FDA – they will issue an opinion that FDA will consider re approving it on breakthrough status ………. hence the committee review. 

Company will present the efficacy and safety – academics will present the background and the risk/benefit overview.

And then they have an open session – it is not unheard of for patients to speak then – I was thinking about opening invitation both to someone who had a mess of side effects but benefit and conceivably you who had little side effects and benefit.

Despite your famed sense of humor – its vmery serious at the time and very tight timelines. Afterwards you can joke all you like : ) 



My Response

I’d be glad to help out! 

Just curious — while you’re at it, can you try to ask the company to spring for the airfare of my “assistant” (the one who will drive me to John Wayne Airport and everywhere)? You know me – Miss Daisy.

I am used to speaking within “blocked” time. No worries.

Long story short, the diva did her part toward the advancement of a new cancer drug to the medicine cabinets of oncologists the world over. I spoke and shared my cancer story and positive CO-1686 experience at the ODAC public hearing on April 12, 2016 in Silver Springs, Maryland. I implored ODAC to accelerate the approval of rociletinib, the generic name of the trial drug that has been whipping my lung nasties for two years.

Details! Details! Blow-by-blow account!

Okay. It was a junket full monty.  Octo had been invited but unfortunately couldn’t go.

A spitting image of Downton Abbey’s majordomo Mr Carson emerged from an unstretched limo in front of my condo.  This vehicle would whisk me to John Wayne airport.  Mr Carson dutifully carried my small suitcase. Afterwards, he ushered me to the plush back seat where two bottles of spring water awaited. I secretly agreed that 4:30 a.m. was a tad early for fine wine, the kind with clove bouquet and earthy undertones. Then for the longest time he held the door open.  I looked up at the suited chauffeur whose silver hair made him look distinguished. I asked, Is there a problem? He pointed at the limo floor. There was my jacket, sprawled, half of it hanging over the parking lot pavement. OMG! It was a good thing I wasn’t wearing it! It happens when the perks exclude a lady-in-waiting.  So to the airport, to the next limo to the hotel, and to the event. Dining was awesome. At the end of the whirlwind tour, I was chauffered back to the airport then to my condo door, thus concluding the full-diva pampering.

I must confess:  I struggled to appear coolly unimpressed the whole time.  But I suspect all the subtle nudging assured my handlers that I’d show up at the hearing. Otherwise, I do have a tendency to wander aimlessly.

The ODAC edict allotted each speaker six minutes to read a speech – strictly six minutes or else! Afraid that a noose might drop from the ceiling and drag me by the neck if I spoke past six minutes, I wrote a 4-1/2 minute speech that allowed 1 minute for emotional pauses and 1/2 minute factor of safety.   It’s tough when a Drama Queen’s reputation is at stake. Full text of the stirring speech next post. Otherwise it drags this one.

The ODAC hearing ramrodders did a magnificent job of maintaining solemnity throughout the hearing.  The 500-some audience consisting of FDA bureaucrats, big pharma hot shots, press, speakers, caregivers, advocates, naysayers, students, and noseys behaved collectively like a choir.  It was so quiet that I felt like I was in the middle of a Catholic mass except there was no priest wearing a frock and being followed around by a pre-teen boy.

Bottom line: My speech failed to sway ODAC. They decided to not act on the sponsor’s application for accelerated approval of rociletinib. Instead, the board voted to wait for the results of Phase 3 of the CO-1686 clinical trials. Rociletinib will eventually be approved if I have to bawl and squall at the final ODAC hearing.

I’ve asked my closest followers to contain their enthusiasm to organize an event where I’ll be hoisted on shoulders to celebrate my stab at heroism. Nope. I was only one of the public hearing’s six pro-rociletinib speakers. One woman spoke against us. I memorized her face in case I decide to hold a grudge.

So, my takeaway from the whole experience? I met fellow blogger and Inspire member scifiknitter aka Anita Figueras, her daughter Ana, and son-in-law Michael!  I’m like the kid who informed her teacher about her first time at the zoo the past weekend. What did you see at the zoo? asked the teacher, expecting to hear breathless accounts of sightings of giraffes and camels. The kid happily exclaimed, I saw my Uncle Pedro! Anyway, Anita also spoke at the public hearing.  She posted an impressive summary of the ODAC proceedings.  Very thorough and informative. Here is the link:

What a tremendous experience it has been so far to be part of an historic event! I have been in on the development of a cancer drug – from qualifying for the trials through the motions of the drug approval process.  And feeling awesome to boot! Do we have some Amens there? This calls for a celebration.

Happy dance, Feisty Heifer!

My CO-1686, the Blame Game, and Good News


, , , , , , , , , , ,

Absolutely!  Cancer has no redeeming value, but it’s definitely a game changer. Yeppers. Cancer has changed my life for better or for worse. Among the changes: (1) It cleared the view to my mortality; (2) It provided a scapegoat for anything awful; (3) It ended my desperate pursuit of relevance and (4) It makes some people look at me with puppy-dog eyes, something handy when I’m craving attention. This post discusses item (2) cancer as the whipping boy, plus a bit of good news.

Before my lung cancer diagnosis in August of 2012, like many people I had never been seriously ill.  The Manila slum filth coated me with a health armor and strengthened my young immune system that fought mightily for the survival of the future Drama Queen. I remember after marrying my first husband in Estancia, New Mexico USA he, some friends, and I took a trip to Juarez, Old Mexico across the bridge from El Paso, Texas.  On the second day of the trip, almost everybody suffered from “stomach bug,” or Montezuma’s Revenge,  they called it.  Heads hung over the commode and bodies curled up on couches because of stomach ache. We blamed the water, the tacos, the smoked bishop’s noses (turkey butts), and anything we had stuffed in our faces except the beer.  Not me. I did not get sick. My immune system batted a homerun and egged me on to crow that my Filipino bug would beat the Mexican bug any time.  As for life in general, I used to find solace in blaming everything, including hangovers and end of football seasons, on El Nino.

After the lung cancer diagnosis, cancer replaced El Nino in the blame game.  I blame cancer for anything unpleasant that happens. One time my right arm hurt near the shoulder, limiting the hand’s range of motion. Suddenly I could no longer be like my Italian friend who, while dining on veal pomodoro, moves his united fingertips close to his lips and exclaims, “molto bene!” and “mwah!” Lifting my mug of beer became stressful. Right off the bat I blamed cancer. I dug my left fingers deep inside my armpit and searched for swollen lymph nodes. I blame cancer for giving the words lymph node, an important part of the human immune system, a menacing sound. I felt nothing suspicious there.  And then light dawned! I realized that the positioning of my right hand had been ergonomically incorrect when typing on my new Polaroid tablet, causing the pain of the muscles aggravated by repetitive motion.

A few months ago, I responded to an Inspire survey for which I got paid. After receiving my 65 Amazon dollars, a problem arose. What can somebody like me who has everything buy with $65? Let me be clear. I am not rich. It’s just that I have never wanted much, so I have just everything I need. You can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the girl. After crunching numbers, shipping costs, dollars and pennies, I decided on a water pik to replace the one I had once owned but  inadvertently left on the vanity of the Conrad Hotel in Cairo, Egypt in 2006.  I’m hoping the pharoahs will have a clue what it is after they rise from the dead.

A new day dawned with the arrival of the water pik. Furnished with seven attachments of heads of tiny brushes and water jet holes, it begged tinkering.  It got me all excited! It doesn’t take much to entertain me.  I used one attachment after another, aiming the water jet at every space between the few remaining natural teeth in my head. Imagine a water gun – my fingers were trigger happy! It happens when an insufferable know-it-all blogger doesn’t know how to crochet or knit.

One evening when I was about to start my water pik routine, I noticed the area under my tongue looked like liver. OMG! I had never seen such a thing.  I surmised it was bruised by the relentless assault of the pik’s water jet. You’d think I would have been satisfied by that concept because it made sense. But no, not me. I had to blame cancer. I returned to Google University (GU) and audited some courses.  A problem arose. There is a word for almost every part of the human anatomy, but what is the English word for the part of the mouth shaped like a horse shoe under the tongue? My inner genius rushed to the rescue. I figured since there is a roof of the mouth, I’d call it floor of the mouth. Duh. Then bingo! There GU had it: black-and-blue floor of the mouth is caused by any of a number of things including trauma. We had a match.

Due to the bacterial infection I suffered in September last year, I had to have an interim CTscan to check out if the two new nodules  in my lungs had disappeared. They did disappear.  Otherwise, I would have been booted off the trial.  To put me back on track, my next CTscan was scheduled FOUR months away.  I was aghast. Four months! That’s a long time for me to imagine the nasties in my lungs organizing a progression party.  I blame cancer when I have misgivings.  Well, as it turned out, the latest CTcans declared STABLE and UNREMARKABLE, putting the start of my third year on CO-1686 on the right track so far.

I think I’ll skedaddle from the blame game for now and celebrate a little.

Happy dance, Feisty Heifer!


My CO-1686: Second Anniversary!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oh dear! Has it been two years already? Time does fly when one is having fun.

This blog and my participation in the CO-1686 clinical trials started simultaneously in March 2014 when all I had under my belt was zero experience in blogging and clinical trials. As a matter of fact,  I have deleted the maiden post dated March 14, 2014 from the blog archive because I suddenly realized it made no sense.  It contained only the title “In Two Weeks I’ll Know More About the Biopsy,” followed by space as big as the great outdoors.  It happens when a future awesome blogger only knows how to tweet.

While creating the blog in 2014, I discovered that WordPress requires a title, so without hesitation, I named it “Cancer Laughter.”  Looking back now, I realize it was so presumptuous of me.  Cancer Laughter! What was I thinking? What if the trial drug wielded debilitating side effects that would obliterate the laugh lines off my face? What if the trial honchos yanked me out because of progression after the first CTscan?  Well, honestly, those thoughts just never occurred to me.  My mantra being  Learn something new everyday, I’m like a horse with blinders on. All I could think of at the time was that I’ll have fun learning something new in the clinical trials; fun researching new knowledge; and more fun learning blogging and sharing it with anybody who cares. Fun, fun, fun!  Sure enough, since the blog christening moment, for the most part, it has been fun.  I have found entertaining things to learn and write about –  first six months in the University of Colorado in Aurora; second six months in UCLA in Santa Monica, and twelve months in UC in Irvine.  Situation comedy abounds at reception desks, in examination rooms, emergency rooms, urgent care, and in the car playing Miss Daisy doing lottery puzzles with her loving Octo at the wheel.

Now, as I celebrate my CO-1686 second anniversary, I wonder if Motivator Extraordinaire Napoleon Hill, author of the book Think and Grow Rich,  might have been on to something when he wrote, “What your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Oooommmmm. Or maybe I’ve just been fortunate so far.

I  have never read Napoleon Hill’s famous book but when I was a 25-year-old engineer babe in the Philippines, I dated a successful businessman who talked about the book incessantly I might as well have read it myself.  Obviously, it had impacted him so profoundly and positively that he felt a need to brighten my youthful existence with its highlights. Being a hot chick in seduction mode full throttle at that time, I listened raptly to the well-intentioned Casanova, gazing at his eyes the way Nancy Reagan did to her Ronnie, and all the while I was thinking: Napoleon Hill – that’s the dude I should be dating. Moments ago, I googled Napoleon Hill’s birth date and found out that he was alive and in his mid-80’s those days. Right Octo, wrong time!

Of course, it was not all laughter the past two years. Unwholesome events that precluded smiles came and went. There were no cancer issues, but holy “tamale,” did I encounter other maladies from which senior babes with lung cancer should already  be exempt: urinary tract infection, eight months of hyperglycemia and Metformin-induced loss of appetite, overactive bladder, bacterial infection, and shingles. But I enjoyed writing about them too soon after I had staggered out from the ashes. Each experience brought me and the blog followers – or maybe just me – precious knowledge.

I consider lost appetite (LA) the worst part of the journey of the last two years. Yes, loss of connection with food, not shingles, not infections.  Food strategies, cooking, the motions of eating, and cleaning after remnants of midieval feasts consume a huge chunk of my day. Without them, during the LA episode, I might as well had been dangling by my toes inside a stacked pantry, cheerless and unfulfilled. Indeed, Mr LA single-handedly gave the self-proclaimed Guru of Positivity a nice little run for her money. And yet, after surviving the ordeal, I appreciate the benefits: (1) a junior babe figure 25 pounds lighter and (2) a diploma from the medical marijuana school of “higher” learning.

To the question What has been the best part of the journey as of the second anniversary? The answer is unequivocal: Qualifying to keep riding the trial pony after each CTscan. Insn’t that what this whole exercise is about?

And now, the CO-1686 Report Card as of post time…….drum roll……. Cancer: stable. Bloods: normal.  Side effects: zilch.  Performance Rating: 0-1.  Skinny Girl jeans size: unchanged. Other: Eight faint chicken pox dots scattered around the right eye – fading souvenirs from the Battle of the Shingles. Win some, lose some.

So onward and forward, but first: celebrate!  Chug-a-lug the brew! Beat the heck out of the pinata! Indulge the inner hedonist!  It’s Exclamation Point Day!

Happy dance, Feisty Heifer!