Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Peeps

Today is my Momma’s birthday. She turns 72. Now I know she is going to be pretty pissed about me telling you all her age but I think she should be bragging about it as she looks pretty damned fine for 72. Don’t you think so? Happy Birthday Mom Poo!

As well as it being my Mom’s birthday it is also my parent’s anniversary. My mom cleverly got married on her birthday so my dad would never forget their anniversary. At least that is what I accuse her of doing. So today they have been married 48 years. Yet another thing to be proud of. Happy Anniversary you whippersnappers.

I also want to blog some good wishes to my very good friend Pablo who had surgery yesterday. It was his very first surgical experience and he was very nervous. I have had a few surgeries so I was giving him the low down on what to expect. I mentioned to him that with all the codeine painkillers he might have to take it was possible that he could get constipated. I mean what are friends for but to warn about stuff like that. So I told him he could get stool softeners. He was horrified and didn’t believe that such things existed. I assured him I was not bullshitting him in any way and that he would really benefit having something like that on hand just in case. He asked me where he could get some. I told him from any drug store. Again he was disbelieving that such a thing had been offered in pharmacies without his knowledge. He asked me what they were called. I said, “STOOL SOFTENERS, FREAKY!” He said, “No no! I mean in French.” You see, Pablo lives in Montreal. Why he would ask me, the Anglophile who knows no French, is beyond me. However trying to be helpful I replied, “Kaka Mush Mush.” Said with a French accent, of course.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Branches and Boobies

This weekend was a very mellow one at my house. I tried desperately to get into the Christmas spirit a bit early this year by erecting and decorating my new black fake tree. I spray-painted it. Is that weird? I call it the Tree of Seasonal Angst.

Yoshi even got into the groove and helped me by decorating the tree with one of her toys. Not one of the fancy expensive toys I bought her but the ribbon from a chocolate box that she loves and carries around with her everywhere. What a typical kid.

Once again I bite my own self in the butt. I was feeling all smug as my booby skin has been very good despite four weeks of radiation. I was thinking that I was a young gal with sexy elastic skin due to the fact that I am pasty and stay out of the sun. I thought I wouldn’t have any issues at all with the radiation. Well, this weekend everything changed. Very suddenly things are quite crispy. My skin is red and patchy and very sore. Certain “bits” are peeling and burnt. I am a little grossed out. According to the radiotherapist my skin is actually doing quite well as many ladies have open sores at this point. I am not that bad but I am feeling it now. Tonight I showed my mom my chesticle and she freaked a lot. I guess I didn’t realise how gruesome it actually was.

No, I am going to spare you a photo of my cinderous breast. Don’t even ask.

Just keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t fall off before I am finished with my treatment. I have 6 sessions to go.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

At Which Time My Head Explodes

I have been a very bad blogger . Not posting for two whole days. I do have valid excuses and can even provide a note from my mom if necessary.

Tuesday night we had a strange power surge in our area, which knocked out my cable. For me that means both my TV and Internet went down AT THE SAME TIME!!! Fortunately I was saved from certain spontaneous combustion by the fact that I had a very good book to read. Yesterday I had three doctor appointments in three different parts of town and I also went to visit my parents since they are missing me now that they no longer have to come over to help me out everyday as they did during the chemo months. They fed me and I got home very late.

So that is why I have not posted for a while. Rest assured, I missed you all.

I had a highly productive day, today, as far as kicking ass. It started early this morning as I was driving to my radiation appointment. I should preface this by saying that this week has been particularly heinous as far as traffic infractions are concerned. I don’t know what is going on but I have had so many near misses where either somebody has nearly hit me or done something really dangerous near me. I am lucky to be in one piece. Along with threats of actual bodily harm I have also had to suffer with some serious annoying behaviour. Specifically really slow old people.

This morning was the third day this week I was trapped behind an old person driving in the Cancer Clinic parking building. This structure is six level floors joined by very steep access ramps. This morning I once again found myself behind an old lady in a big gas-guzzling car that was going ½ MPH through the parkade. I have to admit I am usually in a chronic hurry at the clinic as I try to get there right on the dot to avoid waiting in the waiting room which I hate as well as excessive parking costs. So being behind a fogy can really fuck up my day.

I cannot begin to explain, although I will try, how excruciating it is for me. I bet I could saunter in stilettos faster than this lady was driving. The worst part was when I was attempting to ascend the steep ramps, fighting the effects of gravity while trying not to rear end her car. I could hear my clutch weeping over my bellows of, “GGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! GGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

I then had a “discussion” with the parkade attendant over the fact that he was charging me for a full hour of parking even though I waited about 10 minutes in line waiting to pay which made me go over the half hour cut-off by 3 minutes. I changed his mind. I also had Henry Rollins raging on my car stereo, which might have added to the pressure.

I returned home to witness the ongoing battle of wills and garbage between the house next door and the house where I live. There is a bizarre history of recycling box theft that strangely coincides with my downstairs neighbour’s parties. We have “lost” two other recycling boxes in the last 4 months alone. I guess they could have been stolen by some needy passer-by however our neighbours have had the same recycling box since Jesus walked this earth. How come their blue box never goes missing? Hmmmm?

What happens is Dude Downstairs has a get-together usually culminating on the front porch, which disturbs the whole neighbourhood. Instead of the cops being called or a complaint made directly to the disturbee or landlord what occurs is that our recycling box goes missing the following garbage day. It is uncanny. Dude Downstairs had another gathering this Sunday so I suspected that our boxes would disappear today and I was not wrong. I came home and saw one of our two boxes in our neighbour’s yard. I ran upstairs to get my camera so I could take evidential photos and to my glee when I returned downstairs the next-door neighbour, Boris, was just pulling up in his car. With new adrenaline refreshing my parkade jolt I approached the thief.

“Why is our recycling box in your yard?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you know that our boxes go missing all the time? Do you know anything about that?”

“I don’t know.”

“Have you seen the other recycling box? There is another one still missing.”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sure you have no idea why our boxes go missing all the time?”

“I don’t know”

Scintillating conversation. I marched into his yard and collected our bin. Total fucker.

Right after, my crackling rage motivated me to get out and take a walk. Even better, a walk to the sushi restaurant for a nice lunch. I had kicked ass after all and stood up to The Man. Sashimi was required if not mandatory.

Approaching me and my continuing hatred on the street was a rather large burly guy walking his dog. Not just any dog but a little tiny Yorkie. This little tiny Yorkie had a rather short haircut, which necessitated the use of a coat. But not just any doggy coat but an eeensy teensy shearling coat. Double breasted. With eensy teensy WEEENSY patch pockets.

My heart shattered into goo. My rage, hatred and loathing were no match for the brilliance of patch pockets on a double-breasted shearling doggy coat.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Just Some Photos Of My Jewellery

I simply cannot think of anything to write about today. I had such a mellow weekend and didn't do a thing except nap, read and watch DVDs. Fabulous.

I was feeling a bit guilty about the possibility of not posting today but I guess nothing new and exciting is a good thing when healing from cancer. So I am just going to feel good about the lack of excitement.

Instead I am posting a couple photos of my jewellery.

This ring was the very first ring I ever made in school.

This is a broach I made in the style of Francis Bacon. We could interpret this style any way we wanted. I took a more literal route.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-The Rebellious Years

The times, they are a changin'. Miss Yoshi has spontaneously decided The Head Crushing is not to be tolerated without a fight. Make no mistake. There is still purring to be had but no longer does she eagerly submit to The Crush. This week The Crush was a somewhat forced affair with a faint odour of desperation and anxiety. On my part, mind you. An acceptable Crush was accomplished at the end but not without a battle of wills. I was victorious over her feline stubbornness. And you know, cat-like resistance is nothing to sneeze at. But where The Crush is concerned, it is futile. Mwahahahaha...


Thursday, November 17, 2005

This Is A Serious Shout Out.

I had a long and boring day at The Cancer Clinic. Normally the place is run like a well-oiled wrestler…um, I mean, machine but today was an exception to the rule. I had to wait 45 minutes to see my doctor and when he finally showed up we spoke for about 3 minutes. I then had to go up to the chemo ward to get my porta-cath flushed. This has to happen every 4-6 weeks to avoid blood clots. For that procedure, which takes all of 5 minutes, if that, I had to wait 1 hour and 10 minutes in the waiting room. That sucked. I hate waiting and was pretty frustrated at the end of the day. And my parking bill was HUGE!

Today was an exception to the rule as for the most part I almost look forward to going to The Cancer Clinic as the staff is always super nice. They really go out of their way to make your time there pleasant.

I go to radiation everyday and if there is a new technician helping out that day they ALWAYS introduce themselves to me. I am truly terrible with remembering names but I really like this practise. There are a couple techs that I see almost every time and we are on very friendly terms now. You have to remember that I only get to talk to them while they are setting me up for my radiation and that takes no time at all. Despite our brief meetings we talk about good restaurants and exchange book titles and authors we have enjoyed. I learn what everybody gets up to on the weekends and how the shopping trip went on their day off.

While I was waiting in the chemo ward waiting room I got to see how the nurses there interacted with their patients. When I was going though chemo I have to admit I was pretty high on Ativan to deal with my anxiety. I don’t remember much about my chemo sessions. Today I was amazed to see that each nurse came out and personally got their patients from the waiting room. They greeted them warmly and introduced themselves. Often I heard them say, “I remember you from several weeks ago. How are you doing?” They were so unbelievably kind every single time. Then to further emphasise how cool these nurses were this one nurse who I had a couple times during my treatment saw me and waved. She called out, “Hi S****! Look at your hair! How are you doing?” Right after that another nurse who also treated me a couple times saw me and came over and said the same thing, teasing me that my hair was almost longer than hers. She remembered my name too. My last treatment was at the beginning of September! I have to admit I don’t remember their names. It was very touching that they not only recognised me but also recalled my name after all this time. I can assure you I was not particularly chatty or had any significant interactions with them that would make me more memorable. They are just cool that way. When you think they have four patients in their treatment rooms rotating every couple of hours they must see a lot of people in their day. Really amazing.

The other thing that I think is really excellent about the chemo ward is that they have an area in the waiting room where you can get iced water or make yourself coffee or tea. They also have this cute young guy in a little blue smock that has a trolley and he goes from chemo room to chemo room offering beverages and cookies. He also visits the waiting room and spreads the hospitality. It is like our very own cancer flight attendant. I think this is a nice extra touch.

While I was waiting there was a lady who came in for her chemo who was obviously very ill. The waiting room contains regular chairs as well as couches and recliners. This lady sat on a couch and asked the receptionist for a pillow. The woman unhooked herself from her phone set-up and got this tired woman a pillow and a blanket so she could lie down on the couch while she waited for her chemo.

So what I am trying to say is that these nurses, technicians and support staff really go out of their way to make a scary and unpleasant time the best that it can be. They make the extra effort to interact and form a relationship with their patients. They do this on top of giving great medical care. The job isn’t easy by any stretch with late shifts and difficult, both emotional and physical, working conditions.

If you are in the unfortunate position to be receiving medical care and you have a good experience please make sure you thank those people who treated you right. If you are healthy and well go visit Spoonleg, our resident Blogville nurse and give her a shout out for her hard work. That gal is working her ass off at the hospital as well as grad school. Hug your health care provider today!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My Unhealthy Semi-Stalkerish Crush

I am officially halfway though my radiation as of today. So far I am experiencing minimal side effects. I am a little tired and am apt to fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV on occasion. I did that before I got sick so that is not a big change for me anyway.

I got out of the house for an official “Night Out” on Monday to see my boyfriend, Henry Rollins, do a spoken word gig. I call Mr. Rollins my boyfriend because I am sad and alone and he is whom I would consider the perfect guy for me. He is smart, funny, passionate about what he does and away a lot of the time on tour. I am a gal her likes her space so that is just great for me. I try to take a person each time that doesn’t know anything about Henry Rollins so that I can spread the joy. I took my mom with me this time. I have to admit that I had some doubts that she would like Henry but she did, in fact, laugh quite a bit. Fortunately he didn’t go too into his masturbatory practises like he has in past shows. He didn’t talk too much about punk music this time either so she wasn’t lost with that. He ranted about US politics which I love as I enjoy his version of things and his ideas on how to change the status quo. Don’t get him started about the war in Iraq. He does many USO tours in the areas where most celebrities fear to tread. He talks the talk but walks the walk as well.

I was hoping to take a surreptitious photo for your viewing pleasure but while in line we got a stern talking to by a security dude who looked like he ate steroids for breakfast. If we were to take a photo of Hank we would be thrown out. End of story. And I saw it happen too. Somebody took a photo near me with her cell phone without a flash and she was picked up physically and carried out of the theatre. Zowie! We were searched for contraband before going in and my mom, who turns 72 at the end of the month, gamely offered her purse for the search as well as assumed the pat down stance, arms out and legs spread. She was let off the hook and told by the rent-a-cop that she didn’t look like a troublemaker. I told her she should get drunk and rowdy at the bar and then heckle Henry and prove them wrong. All 5’3” of her standing up and yelling, “FUCKER!”

But it was a tiring night out for me and I went straight home and to bed where I dreamed about Henry falling in love with my mom, the badass heckler.

Monday, November 14, 2005

First Kiss and Other Filthy Lies

This particular memory popped into my head this weekend and it superficially fits into week’s Mrtl Motif Monday of First Kiss. However, that is not why I thought of it. It is just a funny memory that cracks me up as an adult knowing how the world works and all.

When I was in Grade 1 (we don’t say first grade in Canada but Grade 1) and about six years old I had a school friend by the name of Patrick O’Connor. Quite a common name so I won’t bother to change it to protect anybody’s privacy. Besides, it is a really cute story.

Anyway, I considered him my friend and not my boyfriend as my real school crushes were on this kid named Sebastian who I flirted madly with in a typical childhood fashion by ignoring him, avoiding him at all costs and never speaking a word to him if I possibly could help it. I still flirt this way because I believe in finding something that works dismally for you and sticking to it. I also LOVED LOVED LOVED Mr. Hawthorne who taught Grade 5. I just couldn’t wait to get to that grade so I could gaze upon his face ALL DAY LONG! That dream was never realised as we moved out of the neighbourhood in the middle of grade 4 and I never saw him again.

Anyway, I considered Patrick a regular friend and had great fun playing at his house as he had guinea pigs. I loved guinea pigs and wanted one soooo badly. This also was never to be as my mom decided guinea pigs were just a little too close to rats and thereby dirty and not allowed near her house. Not only did Patrick have two guinea pigs but they were male and female so he ALWAYS had little eensty teensy baby guinea pigs that were soooooo cute to play with. Anyway, while we did play at Patrick’s house a few times he especially loved to play at my house more. When I would beg to play with the tiny guinea pigs he would always overrule me and we would go to my house instead to play dress-up, his favourite game in the whole wide world. You see, Patrick’s most favourite thing to do was dress up like a ‘lady’ complete with high heels and lipstick. My mom was quite the fashionista so my dress-up box was full of fabulous frilly things as well as blonde wigs and hairpieces. While dressing up was fun it sometimes got to be a drag (!) as Patrick always had to be the prettiest girl in the group and would be bossy over wearing the most dramatic scarves, the silkiest slips and the highest heels.

He eventually got nosey and raided my mom’s closet, flipping through the hangars giving a running commentary on what was ‘boootiful’ and what wasn’t. My babysitter was mostly preoccupied with my little brother and never seemed to care that this little boy would be prancing around the house with the rest of us girls in my mom’s frocks and stilettos. Maybe she never noticed he was a boy in the first place. I am not sure. But eventually my mom saw him and got a little upset telling me that he was NOT be dressing up in her clothes anymore. I didn’t want to tell him to stop as I thought that conflicted with my upbringing on being a good little hostess. But mom’s word was final and bad hostess I was. After that it was no longer fun for him to play with me so he eventually stopped coming over.

One day, for some reason or another that I cannot remember, before he was cut off from his ladies’ fashion supply he took me aside and very chastely kissed me on the cheek. Once again I didn’t think much of it as he was, at this point, just one of the girls but somebody must have seen it happen as the very next day drawn on the schoolyard wall was a HUGE heart with his and my name in it. Our full names so nobody could get us confused with anybody else in the school. I was MORTIFIED!!! First of all how did this graffiti artist find out our names? I knew it was a much older kid as the printing was very neat and there were no spelling mistakes. Secondly, why did they even care? We were just a couple of the youngest kids in the school. I was very shy and not popular. I flew under the radar most of the time. And I was most definitely not in love with Patrick. They were perpetuating a filthy lie! Thirdly, Mr. Hawthorne and Sebastian would see it thereby ruining any chance I had of marrying them when I grew up. OH NO! I would have to ignore and avoid them much harder now to show them how much I really cared.

Within a few days the school custodian painted over the heart and my life returned to normal. Patrick moved away soon after and I never really gave him another thought. That is until I grew up, met my first drag queens and started thinking…

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day Thoughts

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, which is treated like a holiday with the day off from school and everything. It was originally started to commemorate the veterans from WW1 but now encompasses all wars.

I really hate the TV news media sometimes. They were interviewing this old guy who survived some serious battles in WW2. He was telling the reporter who was interviewing him at the memorial at Victory Park that he had been badly wounded when a mortar shell exploded close to him causing him to lose an eye and nearly lose his leg. He said that he shook his fist at the enemy and said they wouldn’t get rid of him that easy. He went on to say that this day was very important to him, as he had lost his two brothers in the war. He then became overwhelmed and started to cry. And what did the cameraman do? He zoomed in for an extreme close up of this guy losing it. Assholes. Not cool.

My dad is a total war buff and is a big fan of WW2 aviation. He makes these amazing models of WW2 planes that are so excruciatingly detailed he even paints mud and oil splatters on them. It is pretty cool. I tease him about this sometimes, as he is the King of Tease and taught me well but his interest in this time in history is only natural result as he experienced war first hand.

My dad was born in London in 1930 and grew up during WW2. His house was bombed and they lost everything. Fortunately they were not home at the time. The neighbours were not so lucky and they all died in the explosion. An aerodome was close by so the area was a prime target. Dad saw all sorts of planes flying overhead and, like a lot of young boys, fell in love with it all. I am glad he got a love of aviation out of the experience opposed to sadness from all the bad and scary memories.

My grandfather, his dad, was too old to serve in the war but he was an engineer on the railway as well as part of the home guard. He had lived through WW1 as a teenager and his dad, my great grandfather, died fighting in that war. He was a very promising cricket player in his county and volunteered to fight even though he was too old to be conscripted. I can only imagine how my grandfather felt when WW2 came along well knowing what his son, my dad, might experience.

So today I thought about my cousin’s husband who is in Afghanistan right now. And I thought about war in general. I decided that I couldn’t even imagine what the whole experience was like. And that is the whole point. Those men and woman participated in the hellish experience of war so that I would only have to try to imagine it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Fashion Breakdown Of My Youth

When I was in my last year of high school I went to a school quite a distance from my house. It had a fashion design program and so it was worth it to me to go there instead of the jock filled high school nearby. I used to have to take 2 different city busses to get there and while I was the only passenger on the bus going to my particular school there was another high school along the route and I used to spend many a fun filled minute dissecting the fashion trends of those students. It was most definitely a rocker school and the clothing was mostly tight acid wash jeans with matching cropped jean jackets and Iron Maiden baseball shirts with the black body and white sleeves. Most of the chix (they were metal heads after all) had a feather roach clip attached to their purses at a jaunty angle. They would eye me suspiciously in my punky mod gear and I am sure if it was a yellow school bus opposed to public transit I may have been beaten up on more than one occasion. Best of all was their hair. Even though it was the mid eighties this school was a throwback to the 70’s with seriously tragic feathered hair. I was totally fascinated, almost to the point of slack jawed trance, by this one particular girl whose hair was so buoyantly coiffed that her head was formed to a perfect point. Something like this.

The guys didn’t have cute Sean Cassidy feathered bowl cuts but nasty long feathers like this. They scared me.

On the other hand my high school was a fashion island in the ocean of 1987. You see, my school was almost entirely populated by recent immigrants from China, Vietnam, Honk Kong and Korea with a very um, interesting take on North American fashion.

Our school was the hub of most of the Asian gang activity in the city. I would hear about how some kid had done his gangly duty over the weekend and carved up some poor kid in a gang fight. I would always be surprised to see the villain walking the halls and instead of some huge mean scary gang dude it was some 4’10” kid looking all of 8 years old with MC Hammer crotched pants and his bangs hair sprayed up like a cliff. An extreme version of this.

Basically really funny looking and totally goofy with his Miami Vice jacket and white dress shirt with a girly broach at the throat. Their gang colours so to speak. Not at all looking like the cold hearted killer he actually was. Yes, we had actual murderers in my school and it was not unusual to find cops walking the halls about to make an arrest.

My friend and I who had transferred to the school were two of a total of maybe five white girls in our grade and our lives where threatened and our lockers were broken into on a regular basis until we moved our stuff to the empty lockers right next to the principal’s office. After that we were left alone. Overall it was a very scary year.

This is what I looked like at that time in my favourite buckskin fringed jacket…Exactly like this.

I blame most of my life’s problems on growing up in the eighties.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Waving The ROCK ON Hand Signal Out The Window

I have been running around today to no less than three separate doctor’s appointments in no less than three different locations. After being cocooned at home for so many months it is not only interesting to wear “outside” clothes again but also exhausting to actually maintain a schedule. While none of you would be the slightest bit phased by accomplishing these tasks, bathed, dressed and on time, I am feeling rather fluffy chicken from the effort.

The good news is that while driving like a maniac (my usual driving style, having nothing to do with my rushed day) to my doctor’s appointments I had the tunes cranked to eleven and was rocking-out as only a seated person can. Vehemently but under control. Eyes front and centre. You see I have not had a working stereo in my car since I practically bought it 2 ½ years ago. It had a crappy cassette deck but I do not actually own any cassettes anymore so that was useless. The radio was fine until the thing died altogether within a couple weeks of purchase. Last Christmas in the Boxing Day sales I bought a fabulous CD/MP3 player after asking my little brother, otherwise known as Computer Merlin, if he would install it for me. He agreed. Then weeks started slipping by and the thing never got installed. I did not like to harass my brother about why he had not yet done the deed. You know guys who become progressively deaf the more they are nagged? He is of that ilk. Finally after several months I asked, “Are you gonna install it or not?!?!” and his answer was, “NOT!” He then tried to finagle out of the deal gracefully by telling filthy lies. Lies so heinous that angels cried in heaven. He said that he had not actually agreed to install the deck but had offered to EXPLAIN to me how I could do it. Now I certainly know I never would have agreed to this plan as the suggestion is akin to somebody explaining brain surgery to me so I can do it myself. ON MYSELF! Installing a car deck is totally out of my league. The ways I could screw it up are infinitesimal.

So ten months later after seeing that damned car stereo sitting by my door in its little box I decided to swallow my cheap ass pride and arrange to have it installed by professionals. I was pleasantly surprised to be told that it would cost me $49. Alrighty! 49 bucks!?! You mean I have been hesitating to get this done out of fiscal fear and it is only 49 bucks!?! What a weenie! The guy assured me that unless it was a fancy install job it was $49. Ok, let me just say that apparently ALL stereo install guys, hired professionals or amateur family members, are filthy liars because that nice tidy figure I was quoted doubled by the time I got my car out of the shop. The angels are pissed.

However, the few days of tune-age since this travesty have dulled my pain, as having music in my car is so worth it. I had forgotten how great it is to have theme songs for breaking the speed limit and running over pedestrians. I am soooo back.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Copping Out With Photos

I am having a hell of a time thinking of sometihg to blog about. Talked about cancer too much lately already. Cannot equal the cat costumes from last week. So what to do?


The Crush Your Cat's Head photo from Friday.

The Chip and Salsa Train I made for my brother a few years ago.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Postponed

Am feeling better about life in general today and I think all your rockin’ comments lifted my funk. Thanks so much. You guys are so good to me.

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday is postponed as Asshole Blogger won't post any photos. Don't know why...

With my daily radiation I am at The Cancer Clinic more than ever. Even during chemo I was only there maybe once every 2-3 weeks and that was waaay up on the chemo ward. The radiation area is right next to the main area where everybody goes to meet up with their doctors so I get to see a lot of people going to and from their appointments. Most of the patients at the clinic are elderly but occasionally I see younger people there. Mostly they are regular looking folks so I am never sure if they are cancer patients or support people along for the ride. When I see a young person all bald or with the tell tale buzz cut there is usually a smile of mutual recognition between us. Look at us and our bald heads kind of smiles. Occasionally I notice older folks looking at me with sympathy. I know I look younger than my 36 years so I imagine I might shock people sometimes. They often give me what I call a ‘Stay Strong’ smile, which I appreciate.

Yesterday I saw a couple standing by the appointment reception desk. They were just gorgeous. The guys looked like a famous sports figure or something. Blonde and handsome and strong looking. Powerful and vibrant. His wife/girlfriend was blonde as well and totally gorgeous. Like cheerleader gorgeous with curls and perfect teeth. They were dressed in very nice and stylish expensive clothes. They appeared successful and young and well off. They also looked shit scared and totally lost. I can well imagine what they were feeling. I guessed that one of them had recently been diagnosed with some sort of cancer and that this was their first appointment with the oncologist to find out what their options were. We have all had that first day at The Clinic, after all. I don’t know this for sure but you get to know the “newbies” from the “old hands’ by the way they walk the halls and by how relaxed they are in the waiting rooms. The Newbies usually sit there and stare off in the distance. Or fidget a lot. Or look terrified. Old Hands laugh with their support buddy or gossip over the magazines or help themselves to water from the cooler or chat with the nurses or eat their lunch brought from home.

So this gorgeous couple was just standing there looking lost and scared. It occurred to me that with that kind of beauty that it was possible these two had lead a wonderful and charmed life up until then. Possibly things had come relatively easily to them. I don’t know but they made me wonder. Maybe their good looks have got them out of difficult situations and saved them from a lot of unpleasantness. Well, not this time my little grasshoppers. It sucks for everybody.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Whinemaster 2000

I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was too depressed. Now you’d think that being diagnosed with cancer and having surgery and then getting the bad news that means having chemo, and then having chemo and then going through radiation with even more surgery in my future would bum me out. So far I am doing ok with that. So what harshed my mellow yesterday? Shopping. Specifically shopping for clothes IN A LARGER SIZE because during all the surgery and chemo and radiation my ass has grown significantly larger.

For most of my life I have been a nice slim young lady until about 5 years ago when I was prescribed some new fangled antidepressants. Not only did they make me even more depressed but also they made me gain about 50 lbs in a single month. Slowly I have been taking off that weight and it is simply horrible to see the numbers creeping up again. My body is a whole new shape that I have to learn to dress. I have this gross double chin and look bloated all the time. So instead of having a lovely day with my mom buying myself some new and pretty outfits it was a total slog to cram my huge buttocks onto one pair of nasty jeans after another hoping to find something that merely fit. Forget about something flattering or cute or trendy or sexy. It was just exhausting and tedious and depressing and an all ‘round shitty day.

I don’t feel the slightest bit attractive anymore. I have this totally butch hairstyle and while many a lovely cancer lady has rocked this hair thing for all it’s worth I don’t feel like I am pulling it off. I just feel butch and fat and nasty. Not like I want to be feeling which is strong and sexy and kicking ass in the world. I know that I shouldn’t be concerned with superficial exteriors but instead be focused on what is going on inside of my body. But I don’t have to look at my insides in a mirror every day. I am just going to be vain right now.

I know I should be exercising but I am so damned tired all the time. I know I should be juicing rainforest fruits to boost my immune system but Wendy’s Frosties are what’s calling out to me in the night. I should be wearing make-up and dancing the night away but I haven’t even bothered with mascara for months and the couch is more my speed.

Now I know that cancer is a very difficult and complex thing physically and emotionally but I just wish I was feeling better about myself. I wish I was thin and had my long hair again and didn’t have stupid cancer.

This sucks!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

As I Begin My Transformation Into Super Hero...

With all the recent Halloween hijinks I haven’t really told you about what my radiation therapy is like. Totally not a big deal. I immediately got over my nervousness, as, clearly, this is the easy part of the whole cancer triathlon. The three stages being chemo, radiation and surgery.

I have to go Monday to Friday for about 5 weeks and the whole thing takes about 20 minutes tops with most of that time being spent on machine adjustments. It is seriously like having x-rays taken. Sure the nuking is about 5-20 seconds long but I don’t even have to hold my breath. I get fried for around a minute in total. At this time I do not glow in the dark but as soon as I do I will post pics. I have to wear this funny little gown with an elasticised neck so that I can pull it down over my shoulders to my waist once I get to the radiation room. It is really goofy looking. Like a short muumuu. And I have to sit in the waiting room with total strangers wearing The Muumuu. I only wish everybody was wearing The Muumuu but it is only us folks who are having our chests zapped. The Muumuu can be a very lonely garment.

The challenge so far has to stay perfectly still after they position me on the machine. Inevitably I will get a mother of an itch that cannot be scratched. I am learning to transcend the itch. To find pleasure, not pain, in the itch. Learn from the itch. Become one with the itch. Love The Itch.