Boobs, Bras, and Giggles

To have a boob or to not have a boob. Or, way more information about bras than I ever cared to read or write. Or, PSA for women who have had partial mastectomies. Or, more cancer adventures.

As some of you may know, I had a mastectomy at the beginning of breast cancer treatment almost 2 years ago. When you have a mastectomy, you can rebuild – which I opted not to do. Or, you can wear a prosthetic. Yeah, I opted not to do that, too. For a variety of reasons. I was happy with one boob. It didn’t get in my way, didn’t have sweat under it, and I kind of quit wearing bras. Because, you know – the old ones don’t work and they don’t really have bras with one cup. So, I wore sports bras and racer back bralettes. I had to change the way I dressed a little and some necklaces hung weirdly, but I was good. 

Until I tried to take my old bras – the ones that were barely or gently used, to the bra shap I frequent. For those of you that can shop at Victoria Secret, you wouldn’t understand. For those of us with giant boobs, we have to go somewhere special. You know – they don’t sell F or G cups everywhere. You read that right. I was a 36G when this all started. Also, those over the shoulder boulder holders are not cheap – it takes a lot of strong fabric and ingenuity to hold up big girls. So, I paid anywhere from fifty to a hundred dollars each for bras. So, the Quarantine had me cleaning out things and I had a very large bag of gently used and slightly worn bras. The owner of this lovely shop will take any of these and she will donate the bras and her bra fitting expertise to the women in shelters looking for a new start. She is amazing. She can tell your bra size and which bra style and brand that will fit you best when you walk into the shop. Not all women are shaped the same, so not all bras work the same. 

So, I called her to see if she was taking donations. As soon as I said, I had a mastectomy, she interrupted me, “Did you get the prosthetic”? Um – no. “No? Ma Ma. You have got to get the prosthetic. You are unbalanced. If you keep walking around like that, you will be crippled and walking around like one of those hump backed old ladies, you will have years of pain. Ma Ma, you have to get the prosthetic.”  I will, I will. I promise. Thanks for telling me. “I’m serious, Ma Ma, do it right away.” She says in her lovely accent. “And save the bras for when Covid is over (I smirk at that now).” I told you she was amazing. And, she didn’t even really know who I was. I am doubtful that she recognized my voice. She calls everyone, Ma Ma. There really are angels everywhere.

So, I made an appointment and went to get a new boob. It was a horrible day in Northern CA. we were just coming off a heat wave and in the middle of the Camp fire of Aug/Sept 2020. The wind was blowing and there was chunks of ash in the air – not the snow like flakes. It was gross. But, I ventured out to get the boob – supporting local business where I can, you know. I am not going to chop the shop up – but, things were interesting with the new boob when I got home. 

I got to look closer in the mirror and wear my new fake boob with different clothes. A thinking girl would have worn a t-shirt to the fittingbecause they do not lie. I brought home a tank top with a shelf bra and that worked fine. But, I had to wash the tank, so I decided to wear the bra today.  Firstly, the band is not my size – it’s a little big. Okay, three sizes too big. Plus, it is a stretchy comfort bra. Since the salesperson had loaded the fake boob into the tank, I was loading the fake boob into the bra for the first time. The bras have pockets where the prosthetic fits. As I am folding a prosthetic breast and pushing into the side of the bra – I get an irresistible urge to giggle. Is this the weirdest thing I have ever done? Could be. I’m putting a very large fake boob into a pocket in a bra so I can wear it around. Also, I am writing about the experience. So, all weirdness.

So, I put the bra on – the boob I had removed was my small one. Real boobs are not symmetrical. One is almost always bigger than the other. I think the prosthetic is a size too big? Or am I just used to seeing nothing or something smaller over there? Fuck, I dont know. Another irresistible urge to giggle. Also, no prosthetic that is paid for by insurance, can ever match the size and shape of an individual breast. As just about any man will tell you, no two sets are alike in shape or size.  My insurance pays for a prosthetic and a few bras. Since I don’t miss wearing a bra and I was looking for something comfortable, I opted for some tank tops with the shelf bra and one stretchy comfort bra. Which I knew I would only be wearing at home for balance since it offered little to no support and,  you can’t hide in a stretchy comfort bra either, you can see it all.  So, I’m wearing this stretchy bra and every step I take on the stairs, the prosthetic sinks a little lower and a little lower. Now, I am sure that I’m a visual riot. The prosthetic is so heavy – it cannot be supported by the bra. My own boob is doing just fine but every few steps I have to cup the fake boob in my hand and hitch it up. This is hilarious. So many unexpected adventures in the wake of cancer. Not a worry, I will take myself, my prosthetic, and my growing understanding of post cancer bras and go visit the lovely lady who calls me, Ma Ma.

So, do I miss having a boob? Not really. Do I feel whole now that I have a prosthetic as some have suggested? No. I was pretty whole before. The peace is in my heart and soul, not in my boobs. Was walking around with one boob weird? Yes. Is this weirder? I don’t know. Maybe? I am sure that once I get the size and bra thing figured out, it will be fine. But, you know, I should have taken them both off. Lighter, cooler, freer, bras and prosthetics not required. I sure won’t be dancing in this bra.

PS. I ate lunch with my new boob and the bra that can’t support it and something happened that hasn’t happened in almost 2 years, I got food in my bra. Good times.

People, I Miss You

A year ago today I was one day out from my 4th and final round of chemo. I was feeling pretty shitty. I know for sure that I told myself that a year from now, things will be totally different. I’ll be back to work and my life will be normal. Life sure has a way of biting you in the ass. I never in a million years dreamed I would be sitting here, working from my backyard patio. On quarantine. With the rest of the world. I am a writer and don’t think that even I could have written something as preposterous as the last 5 months. And everything since March has been completely ridiculous. While I have no idea how this is all going to play out or even what is really happening as we live it, I know one thing for sure. I miss people.

I miss people. I know I complain long and loud about how California is so crowded and I’m starting to get claustrophobic. I also talk about how I can’t wait to get out of here. I’m plotting my exit and planning my retirement. I wax poetic about all the driving we did in Arizona one summer and there were no crowds. I mean it was hotter than Hades, but still, nobody was there. The parking lot at the Grand Canyon was a third full on a Friday afternoon. We could actually spend time roaming in the gift shop. This is something I rarely get to enjoy because – people. Too many. I start to feel like I can’t breathe and I get all panicky and then you know – I’m outta there. 

Last year when I was in a similar exile – I was lucky. I got to have visitors. I got to go wherever I wanted, if I had the energy. But, this. This is bad. Not the lack of freedom so much as the lack of people. I miss crowds. I miss concerts. Especially when it’s over and everyone is herding out and people start to moo. Well, I miss it from afar, right? Maybe I will cease missing it when I do it again. If I get to do it again.

What is our world going to look like when this is all over? Will we still be shaking hands? Do you know how long I have been making fun of Howie Mendell for wearing those ridiculous gloves.  Who’s laughing now? Well, I am, cuz that shit’s funny. Anyway. Will we still assemble in crowds? Will we be able to board a flight without a temp check? Will we be kinder? Or appreciative? More aware and understanding instead of the ridiculous bunch of unfrienders if your political beliefs differ that so many of us have become?

When I started writing this, I had really high hopes for the world. I thought this would bring us closer. Instead, it has become one more divisive thing. Now that things are starting to open a bit, the face masks is what is causing people to throw their gloves down. And, the worst part….it is really difficult to know what to do and what to believe because nobody really knows what is happening.

 

Thank You, No Thank You?

I have come pretty far in my cancer recovery, and there are some people who need to be thanked. But, how do you say thank you for love and kindness that saved my life? How do you thank people for all of the ways their friendship provided brightness during dark days? Nothing I could think of seemed adequate or affordable. I have been totally humbled and completely uplifted by the people in my life. I decided that I couldn’t find the words to thank all of the people who helped me on my cancer journey. I decided to publicly thank everyone on FB – once a day until I finish. Call me lazy or efficient. Depends on your definition and how you feel about thank you notes.

I do not disagree that a well written thank you note is a beautiful thing. But, I have always struggled with them. I know, I know, I know. A writer who gets anxiety at the thought of writing a tiny thank you note. I am not against expressing gratitude in whatever way you choose. To me it is the expression, not the delivery method.

Coincidentally a FB friend had posted about how difficult it was to get her son to write them. I thought before I posted. Nobody wants to be unfriended. I am not a big thank you note kind of person. I suck at it. I am not that great at getting cards into the mail, either. But, I digress. I thought about all of the times my mother and I argued about writing them.  Oh, wait. We didn’t. One of the few things we didn’t argue about. We could blame her, but I guess mom knew how to pick her battles. Plus I was #4. I can fold a fitted bed sheet so well, you could put it back into its original package. Thanks, Mom for that. Not sure it makes me or my life any better. 

Kidding aside, I kept thinking. When was the last time I received a thank you note? Some of my friends are masters at them, so occasionally one will show up in the mail. My dad’s wife is pretty good at sending them, but it doesn’t make her a better person.  The last thing I want her to do is send me a note over nothing. She has more important things to do. And, then. Did I ever receive a thank you card from my dad? Nope – but, he was married to my mom who didn’t make me do it. Come to think of it – I have only received one thank you card from a man. ONE. His girlfriend (my roommate) made him do it when he lived with us between grad school and a job. That is not to say men aren’t gracious or grateful. I have received texts, emails, and drinks in appreciation. But, not a handwritten card. 

I’m guessing we started this sometime ago. When there were no cell phones, no telephones, no email, no texting, no answering machines. You get the picture. I would also guess that some printer had a great advertising team and this was the result of some “buy more of my paper products” campaign. Or, it was something “nice rich ladies” did.

 I wouldn’t argue if you said manners are an afterthought these days. But, maybe some things we consider good manners, should be left in the past as they are just not relevant anymore. Plus, this seems to be a job that falls on women. For women. Men don’t care if they get a thank you note, a thank you text, or even a nod. I doubt they spend any time wondering why Bill didn’t send a thank you note for the poker or football party you hosted. Or if someone’s kid sent us a thank you note for a graduation gift. If men aren’t expected to do it, why am I?

Where Oh Where Has My Mojo Gone?

Where oh where has my mojo gone? It has been a long year. And as much as I love writing this blog, I haven’t had the motivation. Well, to be honest – it has been a combination of things. Late last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That diagnosis overwhelmed me and took over my life for the better part of 2019. Things were moving so fast, I didn’t really have time to take stock of how I was feeling. By the time some of the fog cleared – I had new fog. The chemotherapy and its aftermath left me with an inability to focus on much. My memory, which already seemed compromised, failed me altogether. 

Now, I have been back at work at my day job. I’m definitely better, but I have a long way to go. I am still tired (the level of exhaustion runs layers deep), have achy bones, neuropathy, vision issues, and healing pains. I have been waiting for the writer in me to rise up and write. And, then it occurs to me, maybe I just need to do it!

Sometimes it seems as though nothing has changed. Truth is, everything has changed. I had cancer. That means, I could get it again. Which means, it will always be in the back of my head. Or, it seems that way now. I have completely changed my diet. A change that has been needing to happen. A change that I am thrilled happened. I look and feel so much better. I am certain my diet changes contributed to my recovery. They have also inspired those around me. 

I hear things differently now. Whenever I hear about someone dying of breast cancer or complications from, I say a quick thanks and then wonder – how can I use this information to keep me healthy? Which I think we all know, is impossible. It’s just my neverending need for control that makes that happen. Which is weird, because one of the things I learned during this ordeal is that I have very little control over what happens. I can only control my response. But, still. That need to control is deep. But, it was only when I relinquished control that I found some peace during my treatment.

Things don’t bother me in the ways they used to. I am more looking for solutions now than reasons to be indignant. Not sure why it took me so long to do that. But, it did. What a bitch I was before. How on earth do I have any friends?

Physically, I have changed. I have always desired the ease of a pixie cut. When your hair falls out and grows back in – that is what you get. A sassy pixie cut. The weirdest thing? I love it. I never thought I could do it – but, I am rocking it now. I may never have long hair again. You should see me. I have discovered a new look. Flowy tops to hide the fact that I only have one boob, big earrings to add femininity. Short, gamine white hair. I see people I haven’t seen in a while and some of them don’t recognize me. In a good way. 

Cancer wasn’t a gift. It sucked. I understand now why people stop treatment in the middle or refuse to treat again. For some it is a horrible ordeal. For me, it wasn’t that bad. But, it still sucked. It took 9 months of my life and continues to suck on me like a parasite. However, so many gifts came out of this for me. It is funny. But, having cancer has brought me some peace. A lot of peace, actually. There is peace in understanding you can’t control. In knowing there are ways to improve unfortunate situations. In knowing that you can change and grow, no matter what the situation. Mortality is staring me in the face. A wake up call to get moving and do the things I want to do. Achieve the goals I want to achieve. Have the relationships I want to have. I have a lot left to do.

Britney Spears and I Have Something in Common

Britney Spears and I finally have something in common. I think we all know how important that is. And, what it could mean for my future.

As I have previously discussed, I have shit for hair. And it was always being itself straight, fine in texture. It came with an inability to hold a curl and I have crazy head sweats – so ugly. On many an occasion I have thought, if I had some clippers, I would just shave my head. It would be so much easier than the shit I had. When Britney had her meltdown, I understood. I sympathized. I knew she was crazy – but, I understood – bad hair day. How many times did I come close?

Well.  My hair was falling out  at an alarming rate – so I did what I do – I rushed straight forward – I had my head shaved. Lest you think I am Britney shit crazy – my stylist verified that in the 2 weeks since I had seen her, I had lost ⅓ – ½ of my hair. It was time to shave it. Funny thing, when Britney shaved her head, there were smiles. All I had was nervous laughter, then tears of resignation. This is what I look like now. So, it was harder than I thought.

I probably should have gone home and had a bottle of wine. Instead I drove straight to the wig shop. I walked in, the sales girl said, what your name? I started to cry. Then I blubbered out my story. Then she told me how much a wig cost –  a synthetic wig starts around $300. WTF?. As I sat looking in the mirror waiting for my wig – I cried more tears. Would I ever feel normal again? How can I make positives out of this? Well, first of all – my sales girl was terrifically sweet and showered me with hugs and free shit.  And, the first wig she tried on – looked almost exactly like my hair had before it started to fall out. Now, I was crying tears of joy .

I love women. I always have. I am a girls girl. We can support each other in ways others can’t. On this day, as I was checking out, a very attractive blond came out with her $000 wig. We were standing right next to each other. Also at this time, an older lady with thinning hair who had come in for a wig and we were all clustered at the desk. The beautiful blonde next to me told me the wig looked great and actually – she hadn’t realized it was a wig. The older lady approached to hug me and wish me well in my future and whatever I was going thru. I showed her my one boobed self and she hugged me again and told me I was beautiful.

So – yeah it sucked to get bald. And it sucked to have to go wig shopping – but, you know. If I’m gonna have to shave my head and wig shop – well it couldn’t have worked out any better . I was smiling thru tears – which is a great emotion. But, man I would sure like to shut the tears down.

And, that is my confession.

 

But, I do have a P.S.  I’ve been bald a few months now. I don’t love how feminine it doesn’t make me look. But, I am so much cooler now.  When my head sweats now, any slight breeze cools it right off. I didn’t spend much time on my hair before – wash and go. But, this is even less time. Rinse my head in the shower. Dry my head. Hair is done! So easy. I think I am going to enjoy my baldness in the hot heat of ridiculous Northern Ca for the summer. It’s funny, I didn’t want to be bald. But, I haven’t worn that wig since I bought it. I will. But, for now, bald is easy. And, beautiful.

 

Hang In There, Lori Loughlin

I have had so many emotions about Lori Loughlin lately.  And, I can’t believe that my three favorite things – kids, education, and celebrities collided in such a ridiculous and huge way.  

Like some of you, I have grown up with her. She found her way into our hearts on Full House – the pretty, innocent foil to Jesse’s bad guy. Blah blah. I guess from that, we knew that she was honest, hard-working, and loaded with integrity. Why? What is our fascination with celebrities and why on earth do we think they have any redeeming qualities? I am not saying all celebs are idiots (although there are so many that fit into that category). I am just saying – why do we care what someone thinks whom we don’t know. And these are people who make their living pretending to be other people. We really have no idea who they are because they have no idea who they are.

At first, I felt that she was just doing what she could do to help her kids. Walking along, making every decision with their future in mind. There are so many decisions to make. So many. How do you know which will be the “One” that makes it all go the right way or the One that sends everything down the toilet. While I know that it isn’t one decision – my high levels of anxiety will tell you, I can trace the decision back on every fatal decision. We all just want to do everything that we can for our kids that will help them on their way. I was sure that all of these women were making these decisions with that one goal in their minds – their children’s success and future happy life.

When I sat down to discuss this over a bottle of wine (okay, I think she was on her 2nd bottle, but I don’t judge – except she didn’t share that 1st bottle with me and I was way behind) I started the conversation by lamenting that I thought it was so sad what she did – she basically said to her two girls – you are so fucking stupid, I have to pay half a million dollars to make sure you get into college.

What?  That is not what that means! She argued.  Yes, yes it is. I have a friend named John Smith. When I asked him about such a plain jane name, he said his parents named him that because it would be easier for him to spell.  So, I replied, your parents thought you were fucking stupid before you were even born? Wow! Do they like you now? He’s a millennial.

She still argued – it had nothing to do with her kids – it was about how this was about her, how here ego and her need to say, my kids went to USC or wherever……

Wow. So, whether she is a mom who puts holes in her kids buckets and calls them stupid; or, she is so self esteemed, that where her kids go to college is important to her as a status symbol; or she is just a mom doing what she thinks is right for her kids – but, she’s stupid about it. It could be none of these things….but, I kind of feel for her. She made a ridiculous mistake and is paying for it – twice. She has lost her job (I’m okay with this – I understand integrity in business) but, her job is public – she can’t just slink a few blocks over and get another job. Her daughters had to be summoned from a private yacht (i found this to be the most disturbing part of the story – her mom paid half a mill so her beautiful teenage daughter could party on the old man creepos boat (he is high paying college professional with a fucking yacht – he’s crusty he’s so old – ick.)

I think we need to let her figure her embarrassment out. We don’t need to help her. She made a mistake. A parenting mistake. How many of those have you made? I think now what I think when Britney Spears was being vilified for hers, I am so very thankful that none of my parenting mistakes will ever play out in the media in front of everyone. How horrifying.

While the worst thing I think she did (aside from calling her daughters fucking idiots) is to teach her kids that if you have money, you don’t need integrity.

What bothers me most is that my kids are competing against these same kids in school. Well, that isn’t a true statement, is it? I have friends across socio-economic lines. I have friends (they live way outta my neighborhood) who think that graduating high school is the goal! College is never discussed. Never. While there was a time I would have done just about anything to get my kids into college – I have changed my tune a little lately. I would have done anything, probably. Short of committing a crime. And, if I had half a mill, hmmm was there a crime? He probably told her and she convinced herself that no poor kids will be kept out because of this. There are spots available like this and if you don’t take advantage, someone else will. Some things make sense after a few drinks or if you aren’t really thinking it through and someone is trying to normalize it to you. Would I have done this? If I could throw half a mill around? Maybe. Who knows. Isn’t that how we do?  

I would have hired tutors, specialists, etc. to help my kids improve grades, activities, etc. anything to make them look pretty on paper. Is that elitist? Is that over the line? My friends who are just trying to get their kids thru high school – wouldn’t they say if kids didn’t do well – maybe school isn’t for them. Cuz, high school is the goal.  Are they right? Am I right being more in the middle? I have friends who basically are paying for their kids to go to private expensive universities (and all of the things they paid for to get them there) . These kids are starting out with fantastic jobs that my kids wouldn’t be getting, let alone my undereducated friends.

We want what is best for our kids. We are going to do all of the things we deem necessary to achieve this. The bucket holes that some of my friends provide, make me angry. But, maybe those stumbling blocks prevent spoiled brattism. I don’t know.

We are going to do whatever we feel is necessary and within our means to help. And, we are going to make mistakes because there is no fool-proof parent manual. We are all just amateurs.

Several people involved in this case – probably getting death threats; getting fired, kicked out of school; public humiliation and ginormous lawsuits. Maybe we should all calm down and direct the ire towards the universities that allow this to happen  and to ourselves who can get so caught up in what we think is important, we do dumb ass shit. Maybe it is time to overhaul the whole system.

p.s. – I think my kids’ generation are already working that problem. They are opting out of expensive schools. Getting credits from more than one junior college before transferring to the four-year. They are not going to be the kids loaded down with debt if their parents don’t have that half mill. Wow, we raised some smart kids.

 

This is My Warning

Everybody keeps asking me if I’m writing. You know, I always say I would love to have a few months off work so I could write and get my life together. I want to. I think about it all of the time.  I will capture some snippets of future blogs or quickly jot down interesting thoughts. But, I haven’t been able to complete anything that seems publish worthy. I didn’t know how to write about this. I don’t want to be the cancer blog writer – I was having so much fun being carefree. Plus, there isn’t very much funny about having cancer. Gallows humor doesn’t really count. No. I’m not interested in what’s happening to me, why should anyone else be? I don’t find it particularly interesting, either and if truth be told, I would like to just have it not be happening.  Also, I have the gamut of emotions – everything from RUFKM? I don’t want to die to hey – this is a gift. Not everyone gets a warning. Not everyone gets a reminder. Some just drip dead. That was supposed to say drop dead, but, I like the drip better. Either way, life is fucking short.

As much as I go on and on about how great I am at change – well. Maybe it’s only the good changes. Every day since my first chemo appointment, I run my fingers through my sparse hair. If you haven’t met me, you know that “sparse” is kind of a nice way to say that I have shit for hair. Okay, okay. For 45 years, I have had the SFH. It is fine in texture, doesn’t hold a perm (that was important at one time) and resembles baby hair most. I have a fair amount of it, but by no means has anyone ever taken one look at my head and said, I love you hair. I want your hair. It is stick straight. Was mouse brown, ‘til I highlighted it as I aged, A few years ago my stylist begged me to just quit coloring. It is the beautiful white/silver that is all the rage now. I spent forty-five years trying to make it look like dark, thick curly, rocker bitch hair. It is true. Back when I had goals and a plan, I had hair dreams. Hahahahaha. So funny now. When I finally accepted it for was it was, it was freeing and life changing. I save so much money and you would not believe the compliments. There are even the few who do not believe the color is my own. Even my daughter did not believe me. I had to ask a random hair stylist on the street for concurrence. The funny thing – I spend forty-five years hating my hair, and when I finally love and appreciate it – it is going to fall out. Probably. Every day the last eight days, I run my fingers through it. Instead of feeling like silk, it feels like straw. It doesn’t make me sad anymore – but, I am wondering what the final result will be.  And, I am so looking forward to picking out a sassy pink wig. I miss being pink.

I didn’t want this. At all still don’t. But, it was time. I had been whining about making some changes in my life – better diet, more exercise. To be fair – I was headed in that direction. But, nothing like fucking cancer to really commit to change. I have easily gone vegan. A choice I never thought I would make, but, am so very glad for now. Do you know – I have stopped snoring – even before I lost weight. I sleep better, I breathe better, I feel better. My skin is better, my gut is better. Everything is better. But, I miss shrimp. And, butter.  I really miss butter. I have found a bunch of healthy recipes and restaurants and not only am I improving my health – the kids are eating some meatless and veggie heavy meals. So, that is good.

So, I am making changes, accepting the ones that I cannot control and what else? Well, I cry a lot. A lot for me. I cried a lot when I was married and when Ii was divorcing. Since then, my tears are snow in Arizona. Lately, I cry a few tears almost daily. I am still trying to figure that out. I’m thinking it is my natural go to when I don’t feel well, I cry. And really, the list of complaints is long. Everything aches or hurts or feels different. That face that looked so great makeup free because of the new diet? It looks like the face of a fourteen year old awkward high school student. Some of it is tolerable. Some requires assistance.

This is my warning. My chance. I’m not going to squander it.

 

Costco Rotisserie Chicken, Anyone?

Who am I kidding? I’m scared to death. Weird thing, nobody wants to listen and “I’m here for you” means – I will tell you to stay positive. I’m one of the most positive people I know, but fuck – I’m allowed to be scared and mad and freaked out and thinking dark thoughts – they go with the territory.

 

I really should have been typing my thoughts instead of writing in my head the last few weeks. There is so much I will forget. I am not sure anything in my head warrants sharing – but, so many things have changed since I typed that paragraph.

I was afraid. Until the next ugly thing happened. I was worried about my lab results. Those fuckers. Let’s just say – it’s in my nodes. (which I am delivering in Chloe’s panic and drama in Pitch Perfect)  I meet with an oncologist next week. Which is a sentence I never wanted to speak. So, either fear has given way to acceptance (and therefor fight) or I’m still out of my fucking mind. Which do you think is true?

Cancer isn’t funny. But, why all the support? What if I’d been told I had diabetes? Lupus? COPD? High blood pressure? A heart condition? None of these things need to sign your death certificate – but, most of them will. Cancer kills people too. But, we are living longer at an alarming rate. We are more worried about living longer and therefor running out of resources on our planet than we are about fixing it, but I digress.

First – the speed at which my medical insurance is responding is fantastic. My family and friends have been so amazingly supportive – I feel undeserving. My children. OMG my kids If you ever want to know if your little assholey teenagers love you – get cancer. Wow. The pit viper has beens sleeping with me. Wow!

Here is where I am: I’ve been given notice – life is short. You were on fire with your writing and goals a few years ago. Time to get back in gear. I’ve been slowly gaining progress in the health and exercise department. Well now, you know. I’ve got too much to do before I leave this universe. Also – the absolute worst part of having a boob removed so far? No hiding the fat. I used to look down at my big boobs and that was all I could see. I didn’t love looking in the mirror but, i was okay. Now. omg now, there is a dent where my boob used to be. I look like a Costco rotisserie chicken with one breast removed. And as my eyes glide over that pretty picture, I see my more than thin belly. I don’t like it. It is going away. It is long since time, anyway.

Something I am feeling now is that I am not really thinking I will reconstruct. I am not sure why that is where I am but, it is. I’m thinking super fucking cool tattoo. When I told my dad – my poor old dad – he was sure to let me know that I don’t need a tattoo.  Parents are so funny.

So – I was wanting to see my friends more especially during the holidays – guess what? I wanted a private secretary – got that too. I wanted to know if my kids loved me. Check. I wanted to eat better, be more focused on my health not that I’m older…check and double check. I could go on and on about all the things cancer has given me. But, I wonder what is really going to be the thing I take with me when this is over.

Or – I could be in the biggest state of denial there ever fucking was.

 

Baby, This is Ridiculous

So, they are calling to ban Baby It’s Cold Outside. As some of you know, I’m into music the way some people are into other things. I’ve been thinking that a lot of our songs are going to be on the banned pile. An old song (and maybe popular?) I have in heavy rotation is All American Boy by Y&T. Perhaps because they are local or because I may or may not have crushed on a past band member……mostly, the song reminds me of high school. But, every time I hear it, I recognize the dilemma.

The first verse is total high school

I‘ve got a 57’ Chevy with four on the floor, Glass packs, Chester slicks, 454, Girls on the phone, girls at my door, They just keep comin’ back for more, I’m just a red-blooded, fun-lovin’ all American boy.

I was a boy crazy teen…I drove a cool old Cutlass with a 350 – I understand glasspacks and 454. If they had used Centerlines instead of cheater slicks….could have been about me. It was a bouncy and fun and reminds me of simpler music and simpler times.

I’ve got a big Stratocaster and my band is hot, Wild streak a mile wild that just won’t stop, Got a chain on my mirror made of beer can tops, A chip on my shoulder, better not knock it off,  ‘m just a red-blooded fun-lovin’ all American boy.

I had the same chain and one made out of gum wrappers. But, this boy sounded like everyone I knew.

Well her eyes are blue and her skin is tan, The girl looks to me, thinks that I’m all hands, And I’m gonna touch her everywhere I can, I’m just a red-blooded fun-lovin’ all American boy.

This, too reminded me of my childhood – although, I haven’t heard anyone call anyone all hands in the last few decades.  But, there it is, “I’m gonna touch her everywhere I can.” A lot of your dates in high school were fighting hands. And, some…..well, I welcomed those hands. Touching you, touching me. (see what I did there?)

I can name 5 worse songs:

  1. Walk on the Wild Side
  2. Brown SugarUnder My Thumb
  3. My all time favorite – Kung Fu fighting
  4. Everything by the Knack and most things by hard rock bands

And that is just off the top of my head….

I don’t think we need to ban anything. People should get to make their own choices. Those songs were allowed. Nobody cared about the lyrics then and the bands were just trying to get around the censors. Look how far we’ve come that we can recognize all the things wrong with these songs. But, please don’t take my childhood away. Wait until I’m dead and gone and then remove whatever you want – the way history continues to do. Plus, where will we stop? Why do we need more legislation to tell us what not to listen to?

But, what do I know? I’m still angry with the PMRC.

Take My Boobs – Please!

Take them. I don’t need them. They are sooo big. I have been saying this for years whenever the topic of breast cancer came up. Talk about getting what you ask for. I have never been particularly proud of or in love with my breasts. They are huge. They get in my way. They are hard to dress and – they are heavy.

But, things sure change when the situation is real and not maybe or if. Soooo…..a few weeks ago, I noticed a flat spot on my right breast. I called the doc. They got me in immediately. Doc wasn’t worried, but it was time (actually a little overdue) for my mammo. So, I got a mammo on Friday. And a call from the doc on Monday – can you come in Tuesday for more images? Sure. Tuesday – mammo, ultrasound, and a biopsy. Wednesday – the call. “Are you driving?”  WTF? RUFKMRN? I have cancer? I have cancer? How in the fuck did that happen?

I really don’t live in the state of denial. I believe that knowledge is power and the more I have, the better my decisions can be. I also tend to be a worrier. Before the call, I was maybe 10% worried. Because – no other symptoms, no history in the family. But, I was not ready at all for the doctor to ask me if I was driving and then suggest I pull over. Well – the news should be fantastic, then – right?

Age has brought me many things – one is the knowing that things can change in a minute. A phone call can turn your life into “before the phone call” and “after the phone call” And the amount of crazy things that run through your head when you hear something like this….how will I tell the kids? What if they freak out? Chemo? Radiation? The doc just discussed lumpectomy and within a few hours, I was wondering if double mastectomy is what I needed. Wow….not so sure I was ready to get rid of my boobs. Life is a funny thing. Be careful what words come out of your mouth – you really might have to eat them later.  

I also was composing blogs in my head and wishing I had my laptop. I don’t expect to spend the next few months writing about this – but, you know, I probably fucking will.

Fuck. I have cancer. Life is just a series of experiences, right? This is one more I get to have. The first time I said that about an unpleasant situation was when i got a divorce. I told one of my closest friends – hey it’s just one more experience I get to have. Her reply? Yeah – some experiences, I would rather not have. Roger that.

You don’t always get a choice, do you? A few years ago, a friend had a cancer scare – I call it the ten minutes she had cancer. She had an abnormal pap and a hysterectomy. No other treatment. Now she is fine. Anyway – when she was telling people – she said – “I’m ready to die”. Hmmm that pissed me off then and now. I am not “ready” to die. But, my relationships are good and all words have been exchanged. But, I have way too much to do to be ready to die now. And at the very least – my kids need me.

The stages of growing up: I can’t wait to move out. I can eat ice cream for dinner. Buying appliances. Having kids. Divorce. And, then – the big effing C (or whatever life changing disease you may have.

A few things have been ridiculously hard since this whole thing started. One of them is telling people. It sucks. Knowing you are going to suck the wind out of their day. Told my dad – that hurt. Told one of my closest friends. She was having such a great, carefree day.  I blurted it out to a coworker today. She was irritated – “you can’t just drop this on someone like that.” I hear you – maybe when I have had a chance to figure it out, I will be better at it. I’ve been wondering how to get the news out. I’ve also been wondering when my friends might read my blog. Ha – I can kill 2 birds this way.