Sunday, July 6, 2014


You know me, when I get bored my mind wanders, and right now, it's been meandering through cancer-related side effects.

I was just thinking:  How come the phrases for having a bowel movement are all unpleasant? We have some nice terms for other bodily functions:  Aunt Flo comes to visit, for example. The bustling Aunt Flo, with her red hair, her variable temper, her love for cookies - it brings up some comforting visuals.  Or, for those whom Aunt Flo has abandoned, we have "The Change."  The Change sounds like a big wind is blowing, one  in which you must adjust your sails accordingly.  We don't know what is after The Change - whether we'll be living in a hot, sweaty, dystopian universe of sharp-fanged females, or whether we'll end up on an a tropical island with swaying palms as Queen of the Amazon. All we know is change is a'comin'.

Other analogies for what cancer does to us are not so interesting.  All of our phrases for what happens post-digestion, with the exception of the simple "BM," are mostly pretty rude and seem to be the realm of the masculine.  One can "drop a deuce" (where on earth does that come from...what the heck is a deuce?)  One can "take a dump" or "pinch one off."  For us delicate ladies, there are far too many references to delicious items such as brownies and chocolate, which I highly suggest be made illegal before brownies are ruined for me forever.

Legislators, please get on that.  I'm in California. I know you asses public servants want to regulate everything we say and do so why not start here?

(He he, I said "regulate.")

If only.

Anyway, the truth is, when you begin chemo, this specific bodily function is going to change:  it's going to make you run or walk with a cane, but either way, you are going to suddenly understand why there are copies of Reader's Digest in your Grandpa's bathroom.

So, let's just say there is your friendly neighborhood blogger, who has had cancer for five years, cancer that metastasized, meaning it will always be part of this blogger's life, until life is gone. She...I mean, he, has done quite a few chemos, a bunch of targeted therapies, has had his fair share of surgeries and perhaps takes regular pain meds for nerve and muscular damage.  The poor guy, things that used to come easy no longer do, things that were regularly dumped without issues sometimes require a team of construction workers, and like all construction guys who work too long in the heat, there is a noticeable scent.

I feel sorry for him, don't you?

Now, before cancer, I happen to know this guy had Gwyneth Paltrow Movie Star Poops. In case you didn't know, Gwyneth Paltrow sells a special diet supplement that turns her output into glimmering, vaporized spider webs and rare earth, cruelty-free, finely-powdered diamonds. Not even chocolate diamonds. No, for Gwyneth it's the kind with exceptional crystal clarity.

Like her, in other words, my shit didn't stink.  I mean, his shit didn't stink. Really.

In fact, he was puzzled by those who used a public bathroom and let loose, knowing their wretched molecules would be released into the air, assaulting the olfactory senses of all in range.  Was this some sort of purposeful chemical attack?  Is this what it means when people say the terrorists will win?

Me, I mean he, was so regular that going to a public bathroom was unimaginable.  Business is always conducted efficiently at home.  No need for potty-commuting.

Oh, okay, it was me.  Crap.  I can't keep a secret.

Now, of course, I still don't go anywhere but at home, but these days, after 5 years of cancer treatment and a big ol' dose of C-Diff, I never know what's going to happen.  It's a magical mystery from day-to-day.  What I do know is Gwyneth doesn't live here anymore.  And, when whatever happens.. happens, I have to hope nobody enters the bathroom after me.  Because, there is a certain perfume, and I know what the compounds consist of:  a mix of medication and slow transit time.  Since my main diet consists of oxycontin, Senekot S and cheesecake, and the pathway has been previously tortured by surgery and C-Diff, the output is...pungent.

Good lord Ann, why, WHY are you talking about this?  I don't want to think about you like this. You have written such touching posts about living to see your son graduate and buzzing hummingbirds glittering in the summer sun...what the hell is going on?

I agree.  I'm so, so sorry.

My musings started because I'd decided to make YouTube videos.  I am reviewing products I think will help cancer patients, as well as giving tips for getting through chemo.  Not everybody reads blogs.  Young people increasingly are getting cancer and are on YouTube and so I thought I'd try to help the video watching cancer population.

In a recent video, I discussed this common issue and recommended stocking up on Senekot.

As happens on YouTube, a "related" video popped up.   This video was called "Girls Don't Poop" and they were advertising a product called Poo-pourri.

I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time.  At the same time, I realized that any problem I face, somebody out there is facing too, and here is a solution.  So not wanting to recommend something without trying it, I contacted the company.

First, I wondered, were they for real?  I told them about our collective problem with cancer treatment, (I know it's your issue too, don't lie) and yes, I asked them if they were a Jimmy Kimmel joke, which they assured me they were not. They were kind enough to send me a review sample.  A mighty generous one too, I must say.  I was given enough to last through another bout of C-Diff.

Poo-pourri, including "No. 2" and "Deja Poo"

So, what is it?  This is a product that you spray into the toilet before you, uh...make a brownie. And then once your brownie is baked and into the oven, it releases a scent, like all brownies do. A delicious scent, like a brownie should. One that would cause anybody around you to think, "Oh damn, Gwyneth Paltrow is in the next stall, I better get my camera out."  Because I prefer scientific explanations, here you go:  it creates an oily film of special essential oils on the top of the toilet water and breaking that film releases a nice scent.

See? Science.

I tried it.  It works.

For obvious reasons I will not be doing a YouTube video review on this product.  But you can see their hilarious video I found below, and apparently there are more.

As a woman who has had years of chocolate making issues (either too melted or frozen solid), as a women who has has sensitivities to scents due to chemo drugs and as a woman who likes solutions for things that nobody knew was a problem, I am going to HIGHLY recommend this product for you. Please buy it.

If you also have my problem and are going to use a public toilet?  PLEASE buy it.  Help a chemo patient out.  The sprays are purse-sized.

Think of the wonderful gift it would make!  If you have ever wondered if your husband releases enough methane to cut down on your gas bill  - well, now you are free to use the restroom after he does.  (If you can get him to use the spray, that is). If you have a shy daughter going off to college who must share a dorm bathroom, here's a solution so she doesn't get backed up.  If you are a custodian or in charge of bathrooms in a workplace - why not leave a few bottles in the stalls?  If you are going to the hospital and are going to have a roommate - for all that is good and holy - please take a bottle of this with you.  We all KNOW what medications can do, and your roommate whose bed might be inches away from the bathroom deserves a break.

And, if you ever meet Gwyneth Paltrow, well, now you have the perfect gift.  Because you and I know that she needs it same as anybody else.

And, now?  Pretend you never read this.