Monday, May 31, 2010

One Tequila in the Right Direction

One tequila.
two tequila.
three tequila.

hello from the floor. there may or may not be capitalization tonight, depending on if i have the strength to use the shift key.

so far, this is how it seems to go. first day of chemo, tired and shaky. day after chemo, feeling pretty good, small waves of nausea. third day after chemo,

one tequila two tequila three tequila floor.

you take your meds, you do all the stuff, but the voice says

get in your bed. lay still. behave. that is enough from you. sit. stay.

good girl.

i said don't move.

i have gone to bed far too late and not slept well these last two nights. wrestling with my dark side. hello dark side. hello god.

release my heart from this longing which does not serve.

my bed is my refuge. flannel sheets. teddy bear. lamb. night table with my special things, rocks and candles and crystals and photos and a blown glass purple heart that fits in the palm of my hand. my ipod filled with way too many melancholy selections.

my ever changing writergirldreams book club. right now? Illuminata. The Bible. When Love Meets Fear. Gone with the Wind. and this one, a compilation about love.

Love. Quotes and Passages from the Heart. Edited by B.C. Aronson

Listen to this:

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. Neil Gaiman.

Can we hear it for brother Neil?

or how bout this one:

You say that love is nonsense...I tell you it is no such thing. for weeks and months it is a steady physical pain, an ache about the heart, never leaving one, by night or by day; a long strain on one's nerves like toothache or rheumatism, not intolerable at any one instant, but exhausting by its steady drain on the strength. Henry Brooks Adams.

This one's for you henry. gulp, hello lorazapam.

i took day dreaming to a whole nuther level today, day tripping through my life on a yellow submarine scavenger hunt for my yellow hair. The few times I was up, I practiced wrapping a scarf into a turban on my bald head.

Greetings and welcome to Agrabah.

There is not much to tell you when you spend a day like this. You just get through it. I realize now I have spent many days like this, just getting through it, even when I was not married to my bed. On auto pilot in my life. missing all the miracles.

I have spent too many days married to my head. Inside my head.

I don't have any great take aways for you tonight. maybe other than get off the floor. get out of your head.

sing something. love something. kiss something. forgive something. give something. let go of something. laugh at something. bite something good. do something.

do something.

can i leave you with this image? a twelve year old boy positions his desk chair in front of my bathroom mirror. places a towel down for me to make this impromptu barber's chair more comfortable. i sit. gently he uses the electric clippers to buzz his mom's head. i look at our reflection in the mirror. he's not my baby anymore. i never dreamed this would be his rite of passage. gently manly shaving his mom's head. he was very careful and meticulous about it. important work for him. he would pat and blow on my head to check his work.

these are the moments that break your heart and make you realize you must never run away from love.

there is no other direction.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roll with it Baby and Tomato Cream Love

9 a.m. Friday morning. Happy Chemo Day! I have a date with an IV bag. 2nd course of chemo. Goodie. Ice cream and cakey cake. Ice cream and cakey cake. Anxious. Anxious. Will my port work? Is it still in place? Has Mopsy been too rambunctious again?

My nephew Wolfgang said that when all a this is over and done with, Flopsy and Mopsy should be grounded, for life. Not exactly honey. They gonna be given new identities and entered into the witness protection program. Two hot decoys will arrive to take their place.

I am nervous getting ready. I get out my medicine bag. Pink Vera Bradley. Used to hold make-up on trips. Now it holds several bottles of pills, laxatives, stool softener, lidocaine, thermometer, and preparation H. I pull a tube out of the bag and get ready to warm up me port. Yeah, I meant to say me matey. One hour prior to my chemo port being "accessed" I am supposed to rub lidocaine all over it to numb it. Like numbing the skin on the outside is going to help way down deep, but somebody feels better recommending it.

I pull out the tube. Just about to rub it in and oh shit. This is the preparation H tube. How bout I rub that on my port and the lidocaine on my ass for the ass kicking I will be getting in a day or two after chemo. I might be on to a new protocol here.

This is a human process. It's scary. I rub in the lidocaine and one more time for luck. I'm ready. I put my butterfly necklace on. I don't know why.

We arrive at the Cancer Center, my new bar. Husband is my valet. He carries my stuff. My chemo bag filled with the necessary accoutrement: blankie; Grace Kelly book; ipod nano; water bottle; lip gloss; all meds; fuzzy socks. Check.

Kitty greets us. Hello Kitty. She is my favorite person here. Ok, there are others here, but she is my favorite chemo nurse. I like it when she takes care of me. Any minute now I know she's going to break out into "Don't Rain on my Parade" just to make me happy. She is gentle, kind, funny, attentive and a former Jesus Movement convert. She wears a small mustard seed in a little bubble around her neck.

Matthew 13:31-32 tells the parable of the mustard seed: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

Today I am the little bird that finds shelter under Kitty's care.

She rubs my port, she is looking for the edges of it in my chest. I make the mistake of looking towards her to see what she's coming at me with. I didn't look on chemo hookup round one. Hello scary. A large hooked needle. Oh geez.


"Get ready for the stick. Ok, good, very good blood return."

That means we're in. That means the port is working. That means blood is coming out of my body. That means I have cancer. That means I am about to start chemo. That means where is my martini, not shaken, stirred gently 40 times. No I said 40. Stat.

I settle into my chair. Kind of like a Lazy boy for cancer people. I wrap up in blankie. I make husband play go fish into my bag several times for glasses, water bottle, you name it.

This is payback for all the times a table I'd be waiting on would make me get them things in installments. For God's sake people, don't have a list of 15 items you need but only tell your server one at a time every god damn time we come back to the table. For God's sake.

This is payback. Of course husband has nothing to do with that, but there's always got to be a fall guy and right now, it's him.

"Ok so first we'll flush you out with some saline, then do your bags of anti-nausea meds, and then we'll start the chemo."

We get to rolling. I am feeling fine at the craps table and mama is feeling lucky today. I am still throwing Big Red at the table till the lovely Kitty comes back in and says "Ok we've reviewed your labs and your numbers look fine..."

My labs? What labs? I haven't had any recent labs done.

"What labs Kitty?"

"Your blood work, the ones you always have to do before chemo."

I didn't do that. Didn't know I was supposed to do that.

Kitty looks worried and a bit perturbed at me. "Let me check with Dr., I don't know if she'll want to go ahead without your numbers."

Deep breath. Deep breath. This is a human process.

Kitty comes back. "Dr. wants labs, we have no way around this, let me see what we can figure out. We will probably have to unhook you and have you come back after we get the results."

Deep breath. Deep breath.

Nobody ever explained this lab thing to me, I mean someone needs to say "No labs, no chemo." Everything else I got like getting my neupogen shots are the post chemo thing to do and my 2nd day pill and the 3rd day pill, you know, the ones that cost like truffles.

"Ok, I am going to draw blood from your port, you can run it over to the satellite lab, the main lab will send a courier to pick it up. They'll test it, call us, and we'll call you when you can come back. I will just leave your needle in so you'll be ready to go when you do come back. Probably a couple of hours."

What am I, home of the glitch? Damn.

We head home. I am still half hooked up. I am anxious. I start to feel nauseous. Can anti-nausea meds make you nauseous?

Couple hours later we get the call. Come out come out wherever you are, and bring the young lady who fell from a star...

Started at 9am. Now getting close to 3pm and I'm finally on my way.

She brings over the first one, the red blood kool-aid looking one. Hook me up lady. That one runs about twenty minutes. Flush me out again. Hook me up, this time with the 2nd chemo med, da one hour drip.

I'm done now. I'm hungry. I'm tired. I am shaky. Can you say lorazepam, my new bestest buddy.

This is a human process. I keep learning new things. The hard way. Come on baby, come to mama the easy way, even money.

[whoa, while writing my blog I just went to twirl my hair. Instead because there is none there, I twirled my index finger next to my head - the universal pantomime for this bitch is crazy.]

The bright spot in all a this?

The big container of Tomato Cream soup waiting for me at home, made especially for me and packaged by my Chef. He knew this was a chemo weekend for me. He made me soup. My favorite soup.

I am the only cancer patient in the world who gets to sip da bomb Tomato Cream soup made by a famous Napa Valley Chef, just to nourish my wounded soul. You have no idea how good this soup is, so rich and creamy and slurp slurp slurp.

Making delicious food to make someone happy. That is a human process too.

Thank you Chef. All those times I drove you crazy, ignored your page from the kitchen, the times you snarled at me, I knew you loved me.

I knew.

Love u too.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I am naked now

It is just after noon in Positano.

A fisherman heads home. His day is done. His wife's just beginning. She carefully filet's the bass, and washes the clams and mussels. She washes the shrimp and leaves the shells and tails on. She has already picked parsley and garlic and plum tomatoes from the garden. Now she cuts the little paper envelopes that will hold the Orata al Cartoccio she makes for her husband, little gifts of steaming fish and olive oil and butter and vegetables grown for him. She assembles the little packages and splashes them with Brandy. She pours herself some in a small etched glass that looks like something you'd receive communion in.

I am receiving brandy communion too. Above me white washed houses with rambling bougainvilleas and blue doors spill down to a crystal blue sea. I am drinking, I am waiting for fish and butter and gnocchi. Soon I will be walking the Via Cristoforo Colombo to window shop and take in the view again and again.

I am headed to Santa Maria Assunta, to worship the Black Madonna under a majolica dome. She understands why I was drinking brandy just after noon. Her heart was broken too.

I am in Cannes. I am at the Carlton Hotel, drinking vintage Dom Perignon Rose. It is almost 1 pm, I have not gone to bed yet. I watched the fireworks from my room and danced most of the night with a feathered mask on my face. If you don't go to bed, then the night never has to end.

It is 5 am here. I am naked now. I cannot hide any more from me or you or my life or this cancer. I stood in front of a mirror and cut all my hair off. It is done. and I did it. I cut it with a vengeance this part of me I once loved. I cut it with a vengeance. I am spiky now and naked. I never realized how big my eyes are.

This is where I am. Here. Awake.

There is a space you maintain between us. You cannot quantify or clarify exactly its dimension. You know it instinctively, exactly when it's too little or too much or just right. That space, somewhere between distance and proximity, is where you want me. Exactly where X marks the spot.

Sometimes when you let me get to close, you run. You run hard and fast and angry. You run.

And there you find yourself, alone again, no one in the space, no one in your orbit, you cannot find me. You need me, and so it begins again. You don't need me, you just need how I make you feel about yourself when I am with you.

Many times you over calculated, spent too much. When I feel all that you bring, when I want what you hint at, when I go to bite the apple you hold and reach for what you offer, close my eyes and wait for the kiss...

There you go again. Here we go again.

Engagement without connection. That is who you have become. That is how you let your fear shape you. You could never allow someone to really see you, guts and bones and failures and frailties and tenderness. You are so afraid of being rejected at your soul's deepest places. Will not show your true face for fear of being left there, naked and unprotected and vulnerable and wanting like a small child. Like me.

It is why you have such huge reactions when I show you my most wounded self. You cringe at the sight of my humanity and tenderness for you, and your disgust of that rises up and arms itself. A stone fortress rises out of sand, seals you in and stands foreboding and formidable against anyone who dares whisper your name.

I think the universe special orders sacred teachers for us. A chance for movement, a change in direction, a new path, a slight deviation, water flows and carves into granite. And in the space between us, during the battles and in the quiet, our souls collide.

This is where we will stay forever now, because of your fear and self loathing. The water turns to ice and will remain frozen for eternity, just out of each other's reach, once and for all defining the space you maintain between us.

You taught me to let go of that which is not joined to me. To stop seeking that which does not seek me. and one last thing,

I won't look back. Don't look back.

I am unashamed and open to when sparks fly, combustion in each other's presence, lava flowing, earth scorching, fearless, all to prepare for the new world,

where a heart can crack wide open, and a seed can grow.

I am naked now. I see myself. I am a heart cracked wide open.

So a seed can grow.

The sun is coming up now.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. Diane Ackerman.

I'm awake now. and naked. The things that stay. The things that fall away.

I have never looked more beautiful in my life.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cancer Sabbatikos

I thought we all deserved a break. Once upon a time, I wrote a novel. This is a morsel of it for you tonight, all about my beloved Napa Valley. Pour yourself a big fat red while you read it.

There are all kinds of reasons why you should come to the Valley. Spectacular scenery every season, world class restaurants, resorts and wineries, chic boutiques, comfy country inns, balloon rides over back roads of live oak and riotous wildflowers.

There’s something else though, something much bigger that is a huge part of this story. It draws you in and holds you, makes you want to stay, makes you change your plans. You really do have to come here to get it.

It starts when you cross Butler Bridge, get your first look at the rolling vineyards, stands of towering eucalyptus and white herons browsing in Terra drenched by a river. As you head up Hwy. 29, past the Napa exits to where the Valley opens to you, it overtakes you, layer by layer, all of your senses invited. A whole body seduction, you breathe in air perfumed with nature’s sexy aromatherapy. Earthiness, sweetness and musk. Vineyard rows pass in slow motion, soothing and hypnotic and rhythmic, the harnessing of nature. The wild order. Even the mustard agrees to grow in neat splashes of neon yellow against brown wood and purple sky.

Layer by layer it gets you, lonely roads of ancient trees dripping in spanish moss, pastoral hills and grass fed cattle, clouds and shadows, white mist from Carneros colliding with pink light over Howell Mountain. It makes you want to lay down and cover yourself, receive it completely, close your eyes, breathe it in, taste it, this passionate life.

It gets into the bottles, it’s in the wine, and when you drink it fills your head and makes you crazy, makes you want and do and say and feel.

The air and the look and the taste of the Valley, layer by layer, gets into you, and makes you want to say yes.


Hi Everyone. Just a quickie to tell you I am switching from the blogspot domain to a new domain:

In the meantime, you should be able to click on your favorites or bookmark to find me. All of my comments have disappeared!!! Goggle informs me this is temporary while the new domain is being configured. I sure hope so. At some point, you will be directed to the new site.

Ttu soon.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

No problem.

I know what you're thinking. When is this girl gonna lose all that hair so we don't have to hear about it anymore?

Pretty quick here folks.

It is my new parlor trick. Some people have all kinds of stupid human tricks they can do. I finally have one. I can run my fingers through my hair and huge bundles of it come away in my hand. Then I curl it around my finger, and the little curled bundle stays. Unless I roll it into a meatball that is.

Remember that Oprah show "You get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car..."

I gave out all kinds of little bundles today. Raise your hand. Who didn't get one?

It is getting easier now. Not so hard as those first couple of days. I didn't cry this morning when the biggest skein of it came out. [For you non-knitters, when you look up skein, it is not the flock of geese in flight definition.] I had lunch plans for today. I decided after that first run through with the comb that I better stop combing unless I wanted to go to lunch bald. Not yet. There will be plenty of bald lunches.

I didn't comb any more of my hair. Out. I heated up my beloved hot rollers and gently, ever so gently rolled my hair. I don't roll my hair to get it curly. I have always put hot rollers in my hair to make it behave. Plus, I like looking at myself with a head of rollers. I feel like Frenchy in Grease. I will miss this ritual I have been doing since I was fifteen.

I will miss taking each roller out. Letting the smoothed out curls cool. You can't just fluff up your hair right after taking the curler out. You have to let it cool.

Then you fluff. You bend over at the waist and hang upside down and you fluff. Sometimes if it's rainy or foggy or misty out, you spray your hair while you are upside down.

When you return your tray and the flight attendant to the upright position, your hair looks fabulous.

Chris Rock did that movie all about the secret life of a black woman's hair. Good Hair it was called.

I hope I have not broken any sacred trust or code for the blond Breck girl's bangin hair club. I expect Christie Brinkley may have to put a hit out on me.

I will miss the sparkly hair combs and barrettes and scrunchies and bobby pins with rhinestones. I will miss my blow dryer, hot rollers and flat iron. The shampoo and conditioner. The sprays and mousses and gels and waxes. The spray in glitter at Halloween.

I will miss braiding it, teasing it, and combing it. I will miss the pony tails, the up do's, the work do and the morning after do.

Lots of lovely things happened to me today. I will tell you about them maybe tomorrow. Not tonight.

Tonight I still need to talk to me about my hair. This is like the wake. I think the service will be on Sunday.

I showed my trick to this house full of boys I live with. They all seemed to have the same reaction. Kind of cool, kind of wicked Mom.

I waited for Baby Bear to come over. I knew she would understand. If you need a reminder, Baby Bear is Batman's girlfriend. She has a beautiful thick long head of hair and she wears it in all kinds of styles. Straight and curly and corn rowed and you name it.

I showed her my wicked trick.

"Aw" she said with just the right mixture of horror and sadness; her pouting lip punctuated her reaction. That's what I needed. From one big hair girl to another. My old sisterhood. Alpha Gamma Delta Diva of Big Hair.

I'm part of a new sorority now.

This is my wicked hazing.

One curly bundle of gold at a time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Crafts we make at Cancer Camp

So one of the perks of this club is the craft class we all get to attend. We all sit around large tables and make things out of our hair. You know me, I go for the cute and cuddly things, so today I made a little bunny and a fuzzy little Easter chick. I am hoping to add a teddy bear and a scruffy puppy to the collection.

That's how it was this morning, the hair on my comb. Whoa. Damn girl. I removed the mass from my comb, put it in my hands and rolled it around and around like when you make a meatball. There it was. A soft compacted golf ball of my hair.

OK. I had to cry again. Just a little. I guess I need to starting composing that Requiem in D for my hair. It's like losing an old friend, somebody who's always been there, through every little thing and every big thing.

It's like losing an old friend.

It's wicked hard.

So I noticed and felt this little bump inside my mouth couple days ago. On the gum, the part inside next to my tongue and next to my right fang. It hurt and I could feel it with my tongue. Weird.

I am one of those people with teeth like The Great Leslie. Every dentist I have ever been to has asked me if I had braces, sorry, that's how perfect my teeth are. I have two fillings. I don't ever have dental problems.

This was weird. Am I getting an abscess or something? Don't tell me I've waited till I was 51 after a lifetime of excellent dental report cards to now need a root canal. and while I'm on chemo? Oh geez.

I called the dentist yesterday. Figured I better get it checked. They are very good at getting you in pretty quick when you are in pain. Even quicker when you tell them you've had a breast cancer diagnosis and have started chemo.

I usually take the stairs up to the office. I took the elevator today.

They all greeted me with that look, the one I am getting used to. It's the "oh you poor poor baby, oh, look at your cute self with breast cancer."

The dental assistant asked me a few questions, when was my diagnosis, when did I start chemo. She typed as I talked. Then she starts asking me how I'm doing, and giving me her best speech about everything is going to be OK and and and...

Rule Number Two when you are talking to somebody dealing with cancer.

Don't patronize me and don't act like you know how tough this is, cause you don't.

You have no flippin idea.

She took photos of my gums, yup, there it is, one bump on the inside gum, and two smaller bumps on the outside gum next to the cheek.

Oh man. I cannot believe I have waited till I was on chemo to have a problem with my teeth or gums.

"Have you ever been to an endodontist?"

Uh no. What the hell is an endodontist?

"A special dentist that performs root canals."

Aw shit.

[listening to my ipod while I am writing my blog, theme from "a man and a woman" comes on. wdygwygafm?]

Why was I always so cocky about never having dental problems? I apologize husband.

She takes some x-rays. I wait for dentist. My dentist looks like Michael McDonald if he were to shave and get a shorter haircut and was a dentist.

Dentist walks in and says right off "First of all, I am very very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That is difficult news to hear. I am sorry." He means it. He knows there is nothing else to say.

Very good. This is good advice. When bad things happen. Just tell the person you are sorry. Sorry they have to go through this. Sorry for their loss. and then get quiet, and let them feel the magnitude of your limited empathy based on trying to IMAGINE what this must be like.

Don't say a bunch of goofy Pollyanna things that don't mean shit and only piss a person off.

"OK let's see what we've got here."

He looks at the photos up on the tv. My ugly blisters. I never had acne or hardly a pimple either. Sorry. I just didn't. I have always been part of the good hair, good skin, good teeth club.

Then he looks at my xrays. He seems a bit shocked. I think by the photos he also thought I'd be easing on down the road to the endodontist.

He comes around and sits down next to me. Oh now what. He is giving me that "you poor baby" look.

"Well, the good news is this is not a dental problem. There is nothing going on with your teeth. This is a chemo problem. This is called mucositis. It's very common in cancer patients on chemo."

Oral mucositis is a common and often debilitating complication of cancer treatment, Wikipedia

"I'm afraid there is nothing we can do to remedy this, we can only try and help you deal with it. You could get a lot more of these, and they can be very painful. I recommend you take ibuprofen to deal with the pain, and your oncologist can also prescribe you a syrup form of lidocaine that will help. If she can't get it for you, I will."

A few pats and good luck and take care of yourself and I was on my way with a couple of sample packs of a numbing gel.

I came home and tried the numbing stuff not realizing they had given me da good stuff. I rubbed it into my gums on the spots, and damn near anesthetized my tongue, lips and cheek. I felt like I had the lips of Lisa Rinna.

Kiss me and my flubber lips.

But enough about me.

How was your day?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pocket full of Star Light

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

I am so glad I caught a falling star and put it in my pocket and saved it for a rainy day,

cause today was a rainy day for me.

I haven't been sleeping well. Generally I wake up a lot and even though getting to bed very late, I wake up early.

It was cold and gray and rainy this morning, with a slight chance of melancholy.

Had an appointment with Surgeon, just a follow-up to check on the burning meteor in my chest, heretofore known as my chemo port.

Hawkeye sauntered in, he always knocks before he comes in. Today he was accompanied by a young medical student; she was shadowing him today.

He said hello and shook my hand and sat down on his chair and smiled at me over the top of his glasses. Despite his scruffiness, he sure has a way about him. He proceeded to brief medical student on this patient. Me.

Another layer of reality. I am above myself seeing myself in this room. She is the medical student. He is the surgeon. I am the cancer patient.

In this place, this is who I am.

It's still strange and surreal to me.

"Well, this patient was a bit of a challenge for me. We put a chemo port in her, and the weight of her breast pulled it out, over eight inches of tubing yanked and pulled out of her vena cava and tangled up near her collarbone. Needless to say, she was not very happy with me." He looks away from her and towards me.

I nod my head uh huh.

"She thinks it was my fault. I think it was her fault" as he points towards Mopsy.

He continued his review of me.

"As I've discussed with her oncologist, we both concur that most likely there will be a mastectomy on the left side, although we will make that final decision after her chemo course is complete."

He looks towards me now, looking for an acknowledgment.

I nod my head uh huh again. I realize he is speaking to me. Not her. Yes doctor, I know this. I am preparing for this. He looks at me. I look back. We understand each other.

It was a fairly quick meeting. I won't be seeing him again for some time. I only have one chemo course behind me. I have 15 left to go. 3 more every two weeks. 12 more weekly before it will be time for Hawkeye Pierce to saunter back into my life.

As I leave the Cancer Center, the air and sky signal the rain will start soon.

I am really tired today. And did I mention melancholy?

Reality is making itself at home in me.

I didn't do much at all today.

I miss my old life. I miss working. Never thought I'd say that.

I have worked continuously my whole life since getting my work permit at fifteen and a half; first job, housekeeping and snack bar at a resort close to home.

One day in the snack bar, my coworker and I changed a couple of the letters on the menu board. We laughed our asses off all day long trying to explain to people about the tuney and turka sandwiches. We pulled it off and switched the letters back as we cleaned and closed. Some feat at fifteen and a half.

It was the first time I realized I could sell anything.

I have always worked.

I never realized how much it adds order and rhythm to your life.

I work in a restaurant, it's like having a second family. You work close and get close to the people you work with.

I miss the predictability and unpredictability of my job, and doing it all with my team. It's like doing Broadway, eight shows a week, and you never know what is going to happen, and how the audience is going to change the chemistry in the air and the show. It can be a rush.

I am so far away from them now, our little dinner theater production. I am in this little bubble, this cancer thing has become my complete focus. There are moments that resemble my old life, but mostly, this cancer thing keeps me very busy.

Busy going nowhere. What I mean is, days just passing, sometimes I don't even remember what day of the week it is. I keep having to look at my little calendar and make sure I don't miss an appointment. I flip ahead and look at all the appointments ahead of me.

Am I doing this right? I keep asking myself that. Am I doing this right?

This is a learn as you go by the seat of your pants trial by fire close your eyes and jump off the edge kind of thing.

Am I doing it right?

They called to schedule my PET scan. We had to plan the best day for it. Chemo again this Friday, probably sick Sunday through Wednesday. We decided a week from Friday might be best. Um, let me check. Monday. Cancer. Tuesday. Cancer. Wednesday. Cancer. Thursday. Cancer. Friday, yeah I can do it. It is strange to have to plan this way. So this week coming up will be my "bad week" capped off by more nuclear medicine.

I'm conscious of wanting to find a way to seek and find some joy and happiness and life separate from cancer during the "bad weeks."

Now what do ya wanna do? I don't know, what do you wanna do?

It requires quite a bit of energy to remain positive and hopeful and present and joyful each day. Maybe that's why I get so tired.

I am working hard at this.

When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

That's the opening of a song called "Your Ex-lover is Dead" by Stars.

Sometimes it's hard to keep this fire going.

One of the choruses in the song - Live through this and you won't look back.

I am the star light in my own pocket.

To be a star
You must shine your own light.
Follow your own path.
And don't worry about the darkness
for that is when stars shine the brightest.

Pretty profound for a calendar.

Most of the time I don't know if I am talking to you, or talking to me.

I have on new pajamies tonight. Thank you fairy.

Nothing like a new pair of pajamies to make you feel like everything will be ok.

Sh-h-h-h, there there now. Everything will be ok baby.

Night reader. I am getting all the light you send my way.

It's what keeps this little star shining.

Sing for me when I forget the words, ok?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Attack of the 50 foot Woman

I've always been lucky this way. Like the morning after getting married, first day of my honeymoon, and

I start my period.

I was so excited to get to my "good days" after chemo, and then, oh no are you kidding me? Ugh.

I have always been lucky this way.

Aren't you glad you are reading this blog?

How would you like to be a boy in this house with a lady on chemo on her period?

Remember that old sci-fi movie Attack of the 50 foot Woman?" I think she threw a car and everything.

I am The Attack of the 5'0" Woman. I don't know if I could throw a car, but I might be able to plug an immersion blender into my chemo port and whip some huevos into a souffle.

Scared yet?

I keep meaning to say hi and thank everyone for all the wonderful comments from the Peanut Gallery. The ones you've posted, the ones you've emailed and texted and just in general, all the love.

All the love.

You like me, you really like me.

Some of you younger kids won't get all the fabulous references I make throughout this blog.

Anyway people, thank you thank you thank you for all the love and support and offers of help, the hugs and kisses and text messages and especially the money shots.

For those of you who have posted a comment on the blog, could you make a comment how you did it? I've had a few people want to post a comment and couldn't figure out how to do it. Do you need a google account?

I love the feedback. I love knowing you're there and reading. It feels really good. Yulie, you crazy girl spilling all the shit from work.

Today I had a visit from a fairy goddess. On old old dear dear friend of mine, we go way way back. She was the first friend I made when I moved to the Bay Area in 1982.

We are a force to be reckoned with when we are together. The behavior is loud and raucous, the humor could put Roseanne Barr and Lorena Bobbitt under the table.

The fairy goddess told a great story about when she and now ex-husband and son went for a day of kayaking. Fairy decided to head back to shore while father and son ventured out farther. She became very worried when hours and hours passed with no sign of them.

She found a park ranger and he helped with the search, combing the horizon with his binoculars. They searched for some time until he finally said "wait I think I see a blue kayak..."

"I don't care about the blue kayak (the one husband was in). What about the yellow kayak?


Funny funny funny.

Hello you old fairy goddess you. Thank you for coming today and for my presents. Feels like old times. Why did we let so long pass and not ignite the chinese firecracker that always happens when you and I are together? I love you.

This is one of the amazing parts of this cancer gig.

The things that fall away.

The things that come back to you.

It's a trip.

Regarding the things that fall away, it was shocking how much of my hair was on the comb this morning. I guess it's starting.

I had to cry a little. The ugly cry.

Flopsy said she's sorry. She's really sorry.

It's ok girl.

I forgive you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

State of the Union

Feliz Domingo.

I woke up this morning and felt



Since my breast biopsy with the good Dr. Zen on April 14, I've had a little over five weeks of being poked, stuck, cut, drugged, tears in my eyes pain, feeling sick, not pooping, peeing blue, burning rock in my chest, all da good stuff. What a drama queen. Oy vey.

Speaking of queens, I once was part of a drag queen cheerleading squad. Well, I was the only real girl on the squad as we cheered through the Castro one Halloween. I had all these cute gay boys coming up and grabbing Flopsy and Mopsy and then screaming in absolute horror "OMG those are real. She's a girl!" You didn't know that about me, did ya?

I woke up this morning and I felt normal.

I never realized how much I took that for granted. I was laying in my bed, checking all systems, and all systems checked. This is how I used to feel, before I started my new cancer gig.

So I confess I really need to wash my hair. Look up "dishwater blond" in the dictionary and you will see my picture. I know I need to wash it. I'm just afraid if I do, I'll step out of the tub, look in the mirror and uh oh, bye bye. If you see me, and you're wondering why I'm walking around with dirty hair, well, that's why.

I normally shed like a sheep dog. I noticed when I combed my hair this morning, there was more on the comb. I tugged on my bangs. Still attached. I could probably use a hair cut too, not only shedding shaggy but looking shaggy. I don't mind. I think I will miss my hair more than Flopsy, if she has to go. Don't tell Flopsy.

I had the Farrah cut in high school. Big big hair and I'm very good at doing the hair flip. I wonder if when I'm bald, I'll still do the hair flip out of habit and I'll just look like a bald lady with a tic.

I had this idea that since "they" say you start losing your hair 10-12 days after your first chemo treatment, I would just beat it to the punch, take control, and have Batman shave my head. A little spiky buzz cut. Every day that goes by and I still have hair I think, well, maybe tomorrow or the day after that. I have a couple of lunch dates later this week; I don't know if I'll be going with hair or not. I have scarves at the ready. One is a lovely scarf my girlfriend let me borrow. Her mother gave it to her. It has horses on it and I think she said her mom got it in Italy. It's beautiful.

I won't be getting a wig until my hair is gone. It's better to fit the wig on my new baby butt bald head than now with all my hair. I've looked online. I think Raquel Welch has some pretty sexy stuff. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to get something that looks like my usual, or maybe change it up. I've never been anything but a blond, real or enhanced.

I remember as a teenager rubbing baby oil all over my body, spraying Sun-in into my hair and laying out in the back yard to fry. I was hot back then. You shoulda seen me. Now that I think about it, it's probably a miracle I don't have skin cancer. Ha. That's funny. In a sick way.

Maybe I'll try a short wig or a brunette wig, I don't know. It might be fun. Kind of. Maybe I'll get a Dolly Parton wig. Or an Angelina Jolie wig. Well, then I'd have to get some tattoo's.

Enough about my hair obsession.

Other than some slight nausea after breakfast that felt like morning sickness, things are feelin pretty good today folks.

My chemo port is doing much better. Still very tender to the touch, both at the port site and the incision site. Much much better though. I haven't taken a vicodin since last Thursday. That's progress. I was on that stuff over two weeks with the two surgeries back to back. That stuff helps you but it messes you up too. That was a stupid sentence.

From here on out, whenever I write something stupid, don't correct a typo, use bad grammar, or say something trite, it's cause I have chemo brain. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I really can't tell after my first week of chemo, what side effects were because of that vs. the effects of two surgeries back to back, healing from those, being on horse pills of vicodin. Blah blah blah. I am interested to see what happens on my next chemo course with the surgeries further behind me. There I go again, I am interested in seeing what happens...

Like I have an effing choice!!!!!!! Geez. Chemo brain.

One thing I've noticed? My sense of smell and taste is slightly changing. Really strong smells make me gag a little. Well, strong food smells. I still enjoy a deep breath of the roses in my garden. Certain foods are tasting better, mostly sweeter foods, like fruits. Other foods, are tasting a little weird to me. Not all of them. Just a few.

This is probably all way more than you ever wanted to know about all my bodily functions and dirty hair.

I was thinking today about my blog. There are several reasons why I'm writing it. I'll talk about that another time. Most of this, I can write about freely and openly. Most of this I still can't talk out loud about. The blog is really helping me despite feeling like the most self indulgent thing I have ever done. It takes all of this out of my brain and infects yours, like a virus. HA HA HA, she laughs maniacally. My evil plot revealed.

It's all about me. :)

I was thinking about when things get tougher or scarier, will I still have the courage to write and tell you about it? What I mean to say is, I have the courage, but there is this Mother side of me that is still wanting to protect my kids and you about what is happening to me. I am hoping I can find a way to give myself permission to tell you the truth all along the way.

I think it's important.

I don't know though. I've spent a good part of my life making choices against myself in order to protect other people. I think most women do. Especially mothers.

I got a great email from my lovely Good Witch doctor today. This is probably redundant but you know I am referring to Glinda, right? Not like a witch doctor or a Salem witch. Right? That was dumb. Of course you do. I'm going to erase that. No, I'm leaving it in. Where was I?

Oh, at my last appointment I told the Good Witch about my blog. I said I'd email her the link. She emailed back today, saying she enjoyed it. Actually she said it made her laugh and cry and it was really really good. That's what she said.

She also said that she's going to order a PET scan for me. You know, cause my lymph node is "involved." A PET scan is another nuclear medicine test. They will inject a radioactive isotope contained in a sugar like fluid into an IV and into me baby. They will put me into the scanner and the pictures that will result will show glowing spots where cancer is detected. This is a scan that from what I've seen on the internet will look for cancer from my neck down to my upper thigh.

As my good doctor explained, we expect to see the glow in Flopsy and the lymph node under my left armpit.

I am wishing on a shooting star, a turkey wishbone, and a birthday candle, that there are no other parts of my body that will glow.

I knew I'd get this test somewhere along the way. Kind of shook me a little that it's now.

It's true about the layers of acceptance of this washing over me, sometimes a little wave, other times a tsunami.

When I go to my appointment to see doctor, or surgeon, or receive chemo, I walk into a lovely building with a beautifully landscaped front entrance. It's got a stream and waterfall and rocks and plants and benches and looks very peaceful.

All this is to soften the blow for those of us members walking into a building that has the huge words "CANCER CENTER" prominently displayed over the main door.

PET scan. Checking my BODY for cancer. Not just Flopsy. Or under my arm. All the other places.

Deep breath. You know, they should have some Lamaze breathing techniques for cancer patients, you know, just to deal with all this good news. Hee hee hoo hoo. That's an inside joke for all you mamas.

She said they will call me from the PET scan center and set me up, and we'll talk about the results at my next appointment with her. I am not so good at this waiting stuff. I suppose I've already established that.

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

I thought about it for a minute. Not telling you about the PET scan. Not telling you I was having it. Not telling you the results. You would have never known. That's how I am. I am a Scorpio. They say we are very secretive.

See, it says right here, from an all about Scorpio website.

Traits of a Scorpio:

Intense. Yes.
Strong-willed. Like a pit bull.
Determined. That's how I roll.
Secretive. What secrets?
Meticulous. Not.
Investigative. Nancy Drew here.
Curious. meow.
Deep thinker. Way too deep bordering on obsessive. Simma downa.
Vindictive. Not sure how to answer this. Generally no. But I don't forget nuthin.
Jealous. Under certain unhealthy circumstances.
Sullen. More like Tinkerbell pouty.
Bitter. Not at all.
Sarcastic. Um, yes, but disguised as edgy humor.
Bad tempered. Of course not. Ok my husband might disagree with that. I'm only mean to him though. :)

Secretive. Since I was a kid.

I told you though about the PET. I told you.

Well, I haven't posted this yet. It's still a draft. I am still thinking about whether to include the PET scan mention.

You'll either know. Or you won't.

Ok, I'm back; took a little break.

Ok so I told you. I kept it in the blog. Deep breath.

Um, can I keep my other secrets though?

What secrets?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."
— Nathaniel Hawthorne

That elusive butterfly landed on me when my sweet friend Midge (otherwise known as Barbie's best friend) came into my life.

Midge was just here visiting for a few days, she lives far away now. I so miss her daily presence in my life, especially now. She headed back home today. I had a major crying jag after she left. I love her so.

We were brave when we said our goodbye, we pretended that it didn't hurt like hell, but we both know it did. I wanted to chase after her car as she drove away up my street, but I didn't. I just came back in the house and got in my bed and cried like a baby.

I love you Midge.

I miss having you right in my backyard.

Remember all our crying jags over Mexican food? We would pour out our souls as we slurped mexican shrimp cocktails with lots of saltines and Tapatio. Sometimes we would cry into our big steaming bowls of Caldo de Camarón. I know those waitresses must have always thought to themselves "Aquí viene esos locos gritando niñas blancas de nuevo." Here comes those crazy crying white girls again.

There is some poem about the people you encounter in your life, some come for a reason, some for a season, some stay. Something like that.

Midge is one of those that stayed. The feeling is mutual.

We talk on the phone. We whine. We cry. We talk about the day to day stuff. Girl stuff. Boy stuff. We talk about the creative process; Midge is an incredible artist.

Her raw talent inspires me; her tenderness knocks me off my feet.

I'm not as brave as you think I am Midge. You always think I am the brave one of us. It's not true. I just let you think that cause I'm a better liar than you.

There are a lot of people I intend to talk about in my blog. Oh, and if you're wondering, yeah, I don't use anyone's real name. I don't want to compromise their privacy. I don't want to compromise my candor. There are other people in my life who I will need and want to talk about here.

Today's is Midge's day.

I love you girl. My sweet sweet girlfriend. More than this humble attempt to tell you.

I wrote a song for Midge. It's called Butterfly.

This is your lullaby.
Hush now.
Don't be afraid.

This is your lullaby.
Sleep now.
Tomorrow you'll fly.

Time to use wings you've been given.
Soar on the wind towards heaven.
Don't doubt yourself,
It's all there in your hand.

Just close your eyes and dream it.
Open wide and be it.
I'll always be here,
If you need a place to land.

This is your lullaby.
Dream now.
Tomorrow you'll fly.

This is your lullaby.
Good night.

Midge? One last thing.

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever." Winnie the Pooh"

Chemotherapy and Sex

Made you look.

Talk to you later.

Yeah. I'm evil that way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

We Can Take Forever Just a Minute at a Time

Hold on, I'll be right with you. I've got this song stuck in my head.

Here in your arms I found my paradise
my only chance for happiness
and if I lose you now
I think i would die

Oh say you'll always be my baby
We can make it shine
We can take forever
just a minute at a time

More than a woman
More than a woman to me

Bee Gees

Ok I'm back.

Today started as a good day. I got dressed. I looked cute. I still have hair to put in hot rollers. That makes me happy. One more day I still have hair. I will miss my fluffy bed head mess.

Drove myself to see The Good Witch. You should have seen her today; looking fabby of course. She had on this great black outfit with a big leather hip belt. Remember that Prince song "You've got the look."

shor-nuff do be cooking
in my book
your face is jammin'
your body's heck-a-slammin

That's my doctor people.

Anyway, oh wait, let me back up. There is a nurse in her office. Her name is Vonda. She is one of my doctor's staff. She is so great. I just can't tell you what a difference it makes in your life when you are going through this brutal cancer shit, and you have people treat you with kindness, respect, compassion and affection. I am already very fond of Vonda. She has an adorable way about her and whatever tension I am feeling, she lowers my blood pressure as soon as she smiles at me. Thank you Vonda.

So my fabulous doctor, we talked about my first week. Generally pretty good except for the potty problem, vertigo, and my port hurting. Today is my first day though that my port is feeling much better. It seems to finally be settling down. When she examined me she was noticing that my evil spot on Flopsy seemed softer. I've been feeling it tonight, I think it is. Is that the chemo at work already? I hope so. It was a good visit. Told her about this blog. Hello doctor if you found your way in.

Had a late breakfast with my dear friend, she is right on time for me. When I made a job change a year and a half ago, I thought it was just cause I needed a change. Now I think it was so that all these angels could be around me, more hands to hold through this. I miss my work people so much. So so much.

I am listening to my ipod, it is shuffling through songs. Autumn in New York, Frank Sinatra, just played. You have to listen to this song. Wow. Some people think Rosemary Clooney's version is better. Hello Senator. I don't know, I think Frank has it for me.

It just shuffled to the next song, Van Morrison, Into the Mystic. I can't listen to this one lately, makes me cry. Hold on, I gotta skip it to the next song.

There that's better. Imogen Heap, Between Sheets.

you and me between sheets
it just doesn't get better than this

Find these songs people. Listen to them.

Where was I? Angels. All around me. Good day.

Good day leading into more vertigo and terrible lower back pain. WTH? I don't know. Is this just me coming off Vicodin? Is this my neupogen shots? What is going on?

Can barely type this. Thank gosh I got this little netbook free from comcast when we switched all our stuff to them. Thank gosh for this little netbook. I can write from bed. That's where I am now. Laying on a heating pad, knees up, netbook on my knees, dressed in a sports bra and jammy shorts. Making so many typos. I would normally have an apron on at this time of night, loosening my tie, counting my money, buffing glasses. That life seems so far away now. So far away. I miss it. Did I mention I miss my people?

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. Tonight's trivia question. Who sang that?

I haven't played the piano in a couple of weeks. Gonna get rusty.

Feeling awful rusty tonight.

You ever listen to Erykah Badu? Listen to the live version of "Other side of the game." What an original singer and writer.

I don't have a clever closing tonight folks. Thanks for reading.

You are reading, aren't you?

Oh man, Pretty Wings by Maxwell just came on.

Your face will be the reason I smile
But I will not see what I cannot have forever
I'll always love ya
I hope you feel the same.

If I can't have you
Let love set you free
To fly your pretty wings around

Pretty wings, your pretty wings, your
Pretty wings, your Pretty wings around

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Curve Ball and A Can of Whoop Ass

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base. ~Dave Barry

Since I am going with the baseball title, I figured I might as well throw a good baseball quote in there. Free of charge. There will be another one later. Trying to appeal to everybody here.

So the people that know have been sayin stuff like this:

"The big wave will hit usually around day three."

"From day three to day five, that's when you'll really feel it."

"Some people are hit hard from day three through seven."

"The days directly following chemo will be your bad week. By the time you get to the end of the week, you'll be home free and starting on your good week."

I have generally been doing well, by the time I got to day six, ok, so maybe I was getting a little cocky. Like the last girl standing in dodge ball.

Hello curve ball on day six.



Photo0117D.jpgA voice like a demon says "Shut up and lay your ass down. Now. I said now."

Vertigo (from the Latin vertō "a whirling or spinning movement") is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary.)

Uh huh. Yeah huh. Four hours of trying to lay as still as I possibly could. Like when you were little, and could swear the bogey man was under your bed or in your closet. But if you lay really really still, you could fool that bastard into thinking you were asleep. Don't ask me why he won't wake somebody asleep, but it worked man. It worked.

Day Six. WTH? This is day six. I'm not supposed to be feeling this today.

I took the meds. Nausea med number one. Cracked open the backup plan, nausea med number two. A couple of crackers.

Deep breath. Deep breath.

I think I'm going to throw up. No, it's ok. It's back. Get up. No fool lay your ass back down. I said get up. Don't even think about moving.

But it's day six. It's day six. Wah, wah, wah, it's day six.

Breathe. Breathe.

And this port in my chest, damn it's like a rock, it's like a rock, is it supposed to feel like this?

My baby bro Ronald calls. The phone ringing almost makes me move and gives me away to the bogey man. I lay still.

I wait till it's safe. I message him.

"Sorry bro. Can't talk. Getting my ass kicked."

Chemo is doing a little happy dance all over my bed. It sounds just like that annoying Baskin Robbins commercial:

"Ice cream and cakey cake, ice cream and cakey cake, do the ice cream and cake, do the ice cream and cake."

Mother of God.

I lay still and wait for the "Exorcist" theme song to play. Tubular bells. Remember that people? Just the sound of that on the radio was wicked scary.

and then,

it was over.

I feel better now.

You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. ~Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970

Today I was the ball, chemo gripping me.
Ok, one for chemo.

I'm hungry.

I will make myself the ultimate medicine for all that ails you, served to me many times by my 4"11" italian grandmother.

Can you guess?

Pastina with a little butter and a poached egg.

I feel better now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Not My Job To Blow Sunshine Up Your Ass

I just loved this title. I am starting with the title, then creating the blog around it. Don't get me wrong, I'm very good at blowing the sunshine. Very good at it. But it is not the sum of me.

It is very interesting people's reaction when you tell them you have cancer, especially when you are known for your cheerfulness and positive attitude.

Rule Number One when dealing with someone with cancer?

Don't focus on or keep asking me "What stage are you?"

It's kind of like asking "so when do they think you're going to die, cause I need to get ready and all?"

I understand the importance of this stage thing to some, but it's all the wrong focus.

You got somethin to tell me? Tell me now.

You love me? Love me now.

You need to hug me? Hug me now.

You scared? That's ok. So am I.

You wondering how all of this is going to play out? Me too.

and if you're so busy focusing on me and what's going to happen to me, you're going to step off a curb and get run over by the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Really. Shit happens. Remember, this is review material.

If there is one great thing that cancer gives in one hand while it takes away with the other, it is clarity. Clarity. About your life and who you love and what you need to say and what you still want to do, and even greater,

the clarity to easily separate the golden kernels of this life from the chaff. Most of it is chaff people. Most of it.

"Living my life like it's golden, golden, golden... Jill Scott"

That's how I'm living now. Like my life is golden. Cause it is.

Yeah things hurt more, the suffering is more intense, I am really being tested here, this sucks, even now at this early stage, AND I AM JUST GETTING STARTED IN THIS CANCER THING.

But I am awake. Really awake. Like when Dorothy opened the door. Everything is in technicolor.

When was the last time you bit into a tangerine and closed your eyes and felt grateful for that remarkable sweetness?

When was the last time you made a S'more?

When was the last time you pulled out all your old albums or cd's, had em spread all over the floor and took a trip down the memory lane of your life?

"Oh, this one's going to hurt."

When was the last time you whispered into someone's ear "I love you. More."

When you have cancer,
Food tastes better.
Drink tastes better.
Bed feels better.
Music is better.
OMG chocolate is so much effing better.

And the company of a good book or a good friend makes you feel so blessed and so grateful.

Thank you family and friends who love me, so sweetly. Thank you. I forgive you family and friends for the times when this is too scary and you stay away.

and thank you for all the dogs that ever loved me. Wow. I did not say thank you enough for that.


Funny, some people have taken my cancer diagnosis so personally. Like "How could you do this to me?" Sorry man, what in the hell was I thinking? I know, my timing is all wrong. All wrong.


The ones who step forward. The ones who back away.

In the beginning I was so overwhelmed by telling the people that care about me I have cancer. It was worse to tell than to hear the news myself. That was the old me, the one who felt it a calling to blow sunshine up people's asses.

A new me is emerging. Don't get me wrong. I am funny. Damned funny. and a joy to be around. and I love making people happy. I like listening to people, hearing their stories, learning what is important to them, making a surprise of some meaningful thing to them.

But this is not the sum of me.

I am in training for greatness. This is what a cancer diagnosis is doing for me.

I always knew what a fierce Mother Bear I am. I know I love hard. I am a loyal friend. I feel things deeply. Would do anything for you or an animal or the hummingbirds and lady bugs that live in my yard.

What I did not know is how much I value my own life and I'm willing to pick up a sword on my own behalf.

Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.
- Erica Jong

I am not in training to pick up this sword to fight this cancer.

It's something more than that.

There will only be one me for all time.

I am in training to find this voice, to become fearless to reveal it to you.

Don't worry, I'll still blow sunshine up your ass, every now and then.

Cause I like you.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Little Pencil

So my learning curve is getting a little better. A little.

Day Three after chemo I learned that just because you are afraid of not being able to poop, does not mean you should stop taking your painkiller for after surgery, and your anti-nausea, anti-anxiety meds. This is not a good idea. It results in a body that can hardly move and is so so stiff. Super slow mo. When I checked in to the center for my daily shot, Kitty looked concerned. I think that Kitty could pass for Barbra Streisand's sister, or maybe first cousin.

"Where's all your sparkle girl?" I told her about my potty problem the day before and my near death experience.

"Ok, no, no, no, you have to take your meds, and we will take care of the other problem another way."

Yes mama.

Today I did all that I was supposed to do, took my meds, took my laxative, and slept like Snow White for most of the day. Cuddled my pink bear in my bed. Took some self portraits of myself. I am feeling a sense of urgency to document me before I become that other me.

My chemo port still hurts like a son-of-a-bitch. Like there's a lego in my chest. I just want to rip it out. Poor poor Mopsy is really taking it hard for Flopsy.

Flopsy on the other hand, the sick girl, seems to be doing quite well.

They gave me this calendar, wow, and I thought my calendar had been cleared. I will be quite busy between chemo courses, shots, lab stuff, meeting with oncologist, blah blah blah.

I never knew having cancer was a full time job.

I am just at the very beginning of this journey and this blog. I have absolutely no idea where this is headed, where I will end up. I can't seem to count on anything these days.

This I know for sure. I am going to keep showing up. There will be days I probably won't write much. It will be boring. Or sad. Or maybe I will just say "I hurt today."

I am going to keep showing up. In the midst of all this cancer minutia, something really important is happening to me. Can you sense it too?

"At each stage of learning we must give up something, even if it is a way of life that we have always known. Australian Aborigine saying "

This life that I knew is being cleared. All that I thought I wanted, or needed to have or carry with me, is falling away.

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.
- Mother Teresa

Maybe this is the plan for me.

To show up in my life with nothing but,

an open heart,

and a pencil.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day One Scoop, followed by Random Poop

Day One, after chemo.
I woke up.
Feeling anything yet? Not really.
Just very sore and tired from my surgery.

Start with the breakfast of champions: multi-vitamin, D3, fish oil, green juice, green tea envy "detox," a banana, vitamin "v" (vicodin), and vitamin "l" (lorazepam). Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

Oh and don't forget the big pill. Emend. Priced like a truffle. Later today I need to go to the cancer center to get my first shot of neupogen, one of 7 each day after chemo.

I was surprisingly full of vim and vigor. Veta-vita-vegimen, my youngest brother Ronald said.

I am feeling pretty good here. I get ambitious. I decide to do a little shopping since my candle supply is dwindling and I still need to find a neck roll and some fluffy warm socks. I get that done.

I make some carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. For dinner, grilled chicken thighs marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, pesto and sun-dried tomato, served with cheese tortellini and pesto and feta cheese, sauteed broccoli and asparagus, oh and some tabouli. Sounds good, huh? It was. Oh and cut up pineapple and watermelon. Trying to have lots of colors on the plate.

It was a good day. I felt great. I went to bed thinking about a conversation I had with Robin earlier in the week. Little did I know I was seeing the future.

When I picked him up from school and asked about his day, this is how it went.

"Hi Boo, how was your day?"
"Terrible" and then he grins. He does this same routine everyday.
"Terribl-e-e-e-ey great!"

I ask him anything funny happen? "Like anybody yet?"

"Mom, do we have to go over this again? No, not really. Well, kinda. But I am not telling you her name! You are not getting it out of me! So get over it." Gosh this kid is cute. Ok so he's mine, but awful cute.

"Tell me her name, I probably don't know her, just tell me her name" and I give him my cutest Mom has cancer pout.

"No lady, settle down."

"You ever talk to her?"

"She doesn't talk to boys much, but Bob was teasing her, and so I went over and said "Hey Bob, stop flirting with Petunia" and Petunia said "Thanks Robin."

"HA, her name is Petunia. HA. I got you. PETUNIA!" I am evil that way.

"Dang, she tricked me."

So what else, I ask. What's happening in band? Robin is a star mallet player, otherwise known as the xylophone.

"Oh you know, we are learning a bunch of new music, some hard stuff and you know Mom, just a bunch of random poop."

It was a good day. I almost forgot I have breast cancer and I almost forgot I started chemo the day before.

It was a good day.

Chemo, Day Two.
Random Poop.

Sumpthin just didn't feel right. Sumpthin just felt all wrong. I did my usual morning routine. Well, except for one thing. You know, that one important thing you really should do every morning? No, not 25 jumping jacks. No, not read the paper. You know. Ok, ok, you tortured it out of me.

I couldn't poop.

Amongst many other aches and pains and general malaise, I really really had to poop people but nothing would happen. After several attempts.

Aren't ya glad you are following this blog? Inquiring minds want to know...

I messaged Husband from inside the upstairs bathroom. He was downstairs.

"I need you to go to the store."

"You there?"

No answer.

"Robin" I called from the bathroom. That kid always hears me.

"Yeah Mom?"

"Tell Daddy I need help".

Shortly after, Husband is skidding off to store to get gentle woman's laxative, prune juice and preparation H.


After several hours of being too far in to stop and not being far enough for anything to happen, finally, excruciatingly, I, well, you know. Just about passed out on the toilet. I was scared to look.

I usually poop like Tinkerbell. This looked like something Mrs. Jumbo, all her friends, and all Dumbo's friends would leave behind. OMG! Call the clown truck to clean up under the big top!

But they said chemo causes diarrhea, not this! Not this! Poor little Tink's booty. Not this.

I was absolutely exhausted and completely petrified to ever poop again.

You know you've been in some deep trouble when later the tiniest little fart hurts. OMG.

Sorry guys. You wanted the inside story. This is it.

Shit happens.

Even worse?

When it doesn't.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finding Chemo

this is me, pre-chemo

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

First and all the credit for today's title goes to Husband. That was good. Real good.

Hey, were are almost up to real time folks! Wow. Today is Sunday. I started my chemo last Friday. Here's how it went.

I sit in the chair. I have my tinkerbell tote bag filled with all the things recommended you take with you to chemo.

Lip balm. Check.
Blankie. Check. My tink blankie.
Book or Magazine. Check. Grace Kelly.
Ipod. Check. My nano.

Comfy socks. Not yet. Got to get those. I have 5 different snuggly socks, all with no mate. Where do those socks go anyway? That is what the aliens are after you know. That is how they plan on making us go mad and destroying us. They are taking us down, one sock without a mate at a time.

Nausea meds and super Pills. Check. In addition to what they will give me by IV, I have four additional prescriptions. I have lorazepam, an anti-anxiety and anti-nausea med. I have Prochlorper, a stronger anti-nausea med. I have my lidocaine and prilocaine cream for my port. Last I have one bottle of medicine with two pills in it. Cash price of these two pills if I did not have prescription coverage? $240. My co-pay? $30.00 when it's usually $10 for a month supply of something. Wow. That's must be like the truffles of medicine. They will review with me today how I use all of these.

Peppermints or some kind of mint for dry mouth. Check.
Neckroll pillow. Need to get that.
Bottled water. Check.

They also say don't ever take your chemo on an empty stomach. I haven't eaten since dinner the night before as required before surgery but I have packed a few snacks to eat as soon as they plug me in: a banana, a cheese stick, some watermelon, and some cranberry juice. I eat the cheese stick.

So here I go, drum roll please. My chemo nurse, Kitty, doesn't have to stick me, they left the needle and outside port in me, so I am ready. She says the first several bags are all nausea meds for chemo. The last two, one that will drip about twenty minutes, and the other an hour, are the actual chemo drugs.

I don't think I've told you yet what my chemo regimen will be. It's called AC-paclitaxel:

doxorubicin (dox-oh-ROO-bi-sin) or Adriamycin® (a-dree-a-MY-sin)
cyclophosphamide (sye-kloe-FOSS-fa-mide) or Cytoxan® (sye-TOX-an)

These are the two drugs I will start with, given together, every two weeks, for four courses. So a total of eight weeks on these two. Also, the day after chemo and the day after that I will take the super pill, the expensive one, called Emend. It is a powerful anti-nausea drug. Also, the day after my first chemo treatment, I will be receving a shot of a drug called neupogen. This helps when the chemo kills my bone marrow. I will have to go to the cancer center each morning to receive the shot, seven days in a row.

paclitaxel (PAK-li-tax-el) or Taxol® (TAX-all)

This drug will be given to me for 12 weeks, on a weekly basis.

So 20 weeks of chemo folks, count em. This is what they hope this regimen will accomplish for me: reducing my tumor size and cancer cells in my body, and more importantly, reducing the risk of a recurrence at some later point.

This is a breakdown of the party they are throwing for me. I just have to show up:

1) 5 months of chemo. I am hoping that sometime during that I will be able to return to work.

2) A month or so of rest.

3) Surgery to remove what is left after the chemo. Looking like a left mastectomy for me.

4) Rest a bit after that surgery then another dose of chemo with radiation.

5) Rest again.

6) Last phase, breast reconstruction surgery to fix Flopsy and give Mopsy a makeover to match Flopsy.

All in all with treatments, surgeries, and rest periods, my calendar has been cleared for the next year. It is possible though that I will be able to return to work, once I get in the swing of things. (please oh please oh please oh please)

Anybody wanna do lunch? Read me a story? Pat my bald head? I'm available.

Photo0229.jpgOk, where was I? They plug me in, I get started. No biggie. I am still feeling very loopy after the surgery and my incisions are hurting me. Husband steps out to buy me lunch. We eat a bit while I am still plugged in.


Photo0203.jpgI finally get to the last two. Ok, here I go. The first one is a red bag, looks like Kool-Aid. The second one burns a little going in. After those are done they hang a bag filled with saline to flush my port and tube out. I am done.

I am exhausted. I can't believe I am finally on my way. I can't believe this day is finally over.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We are heading for home, I actually finished early, arriving home around 3pm.

I get in my bed. My bed. My bed. So far nothing really, just a little shaky. Then a lot shaky. Then I notice my hands aren't working right. They keep freezing on me. Like I grab something and my hand won't come out of the grab. This must be the neuropathy they were saying is a chemo side effect. Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet.

My phone rings. It is Kitty, my chemo nurse. Right on time. I am relieved to hear her voice. "Hi, just checking on you. How's it going and you want to keep Fridays as your chemo day, right? I am making you a calendar."

I tell her about my increasing shakiness and my hands. "Have you taken a vicodin yet that they gave you for after your surgery?"


"Ok, take a vicodin, and go ahead and take the lorazepam. This will help you after the rough day you've had, it's an anti-anxiety medicine with the extra benefit of helping counter nausea that may be coming. Take care hon. Call us if you need us."

I do it. Awhile later, I feel much better. I am wired, even though I woke up at five something I don't fall asleep that night till two something.

I am thinking about my day. I am thinking about my life. I am thinking about the people I love. I am golden hair covering my pillow. I close my eyes.

If we want liberation, we must rewrite the Sleeping Beauty myth. No one is coming and no one else is to blame.
- Elizabeth Lesser

I'm going to have to save myself.


I hate that.

Tink gets chemo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Houston, we have a problem

God Damn it. Excuse my french. God Damn it.

Back in for another procedure, another Wednesday. Whassup with that? Oh geez. I just figured it out.

Monday's Child is fair of face, Tuesday's Child is full of grace, Wednesday's Child is full of woe, Thursday's Child has far to go, Friday's Child is loving and giving, Saturday's Child works hard for a living, But Sunday's Child is fair and wise and good and gay.

Wednesday's child is full of woe and heading back to something that is going to hurt, and hurt more if the thing is not right. I never realized Sunday's child was gay.

Now my whole schedule has been thrown off. Ok I give, I relinquish control. Ok, this thing is going how it wants to go and where it wants to go and when. Ok I Give.
I ain't driving anymore.

So let me just review for myself, let me switch gear. I will not be starting chemo on Monday May 10 as planned, I will head back to Radiology to have them access my port, shoot some fluid in it, and watch where it goes. If it doesn't work, the Good Witch is going to have to decide if she wants to wait for my port to be fixed, or start my chemo the old fashioned way, with a PICC line.

A PICC line insertion places a long plastic catheter into one of the larger veins of the arm. This procedure is non-surgical and outpatient. A special x-ray, called fluoroscopy will confirm that the PICC line catheter is in the right place. A PICC line is a short term solution and is not the preferred method to deliver chemotherapy.

The Power port is the preferred method. The port is placed under the skin on the chest and a catheter is inserted into the superior vena cava vessel at the entrance of the heart's right atrium. This catheter can be placed by a surgeon in the operating room; it takes about an hour. The useful lifetime of a port can be as long as three to five years. The port can be felt under the skin. When I felt mine it felt like a lego, with three raised little bumps on the edge of the triangle. When I go for chemo, the nurse can find the entrance by locating those three bumps and inserting a special needle into the soft middle section. The advantage is that the chemo enters right into a large blood flow center. It takes longer for the PICC line to distribute the chemo because it is inserted into peripheral veins.

So I was headed back to radiology, very nervous about having my port accessed for the first time. The damn thing is inside my chest, actually on Mopsy. That has to hurt like hell, right? What if they have to go back in and fix it? I am still exhausted and hurting from the last surgery. So intead of starting chemo, I have my vapogram with Dr. Zen. My follow-up with Hawkeye is the following morning. If that thing has to be redone "Lucy you got some splaining to do..."

I show up Monday for the test. They get me ready, take out Flopsy and Mopsy, who by now are used to the drill. The radiology nurse comes in, he is going to access the port for Dr. Zen. When that's done, they will shoot the special dye in and Dr. Zen will be able to observe it as it travels through the cath and hopefully into my vessel.

I am so nervous about my port being accessed. I mean this thing is like a lego under my skin, I repeat, under my skin. I start deep breathing. Nurse Wayne comes in, he has a very gentle manner about him, and he's already surmised I am scared shitless. He rubs my arm. He explains the whole thing to me. He says it is a long needle but a tiny needle, it's going to be ok.

Tears run down my face. "So it's not going to be like when Dr. Zen hurt me, with the core needle biopsy?"

"No, no sweetie, nothing like that. And this is how they will access your port every time."

"But they prescribed me a cream to rub on my port an hour before I come when I start chemo, and I didn't get any creme today."

Tears run down my face. I feel like I am going to lose it. I feel about 5 years old and I need my Mommy. Where is my Mommy?

Nurse Wayne pats me. "You are doing just fine. Everything is going to be ok. I know you've had a rough time of it, and all of this is new and there's a lot more coming. Just get through one thing at a time. You are a real trooper Debbie. I am sorry you are going through this." He looked at me intensely, like he really really meant it. He looked me straight in the eye and didn't look away.

Wow, this is what I had been needing to hear, my whole life. My whole life. A little of poor poor baby, and you are doing good, and I am so so sorry for you and maybe, maybe a whole lot more I love you madly mixed in here and there.

Why is it like pulling teeth from some people I love? Why is that so hard for some to give to me, what Wayne, a stranger, just did. I'm not as tough as you think I am. I am a brave brave solider who feels things very deeply.


"Yes debbie?"

"Go easy on me ok? I am a newbie at all of this. and I am a virgin when it comes to having my port accessed."

The adorable nurse next to him moves in close to hug me. She reminds me of Sherry Sheperd. "Aw baby, God will take care of you. Don't worry. Here baby. let me get you a kleenex. You are going to make me cry. Aw poor baby." She wipes me face and tells me it is beautiful. "But I have no make-up on" I think to myself.

Wayne says "I will rub a little lidocaine over the spot. It usually needs some time to soak in, but it will help a little ok hon?"

I am not used to such tenderness freely given to me. I am not used to someone patting me and saying poor poor baby.

It touches something really deep and wounded in me and I feel like I am going to lose it in front of these people, right here, right now. What is happening to me? This isn't even the most difficult thing I've been through, why is this so hard on me? What is the matter with me? What is going on?

I'll tell you what it is.

It is something that runs very deep in me. Somebody tell me why I often feel as if some of the people I have really loved in my life keep me at arm's length? Is it so hard to love me?

Is it so hard?

Why are these strangers being so kind and gentle and seeing right through me? Why didn't I ever fall for a guy like Wayne? The touchy feely type. Why? Why have I always gone for the withholders?

"Debbie?" Wayne asks. "You ready sweetie?"

"I'm ready." Nurse Sherry pats the hot tears rolling down my cheeks. "It's ok baby" she sweetly says.

Even thinking about this little scene now, I could bawl my eyes out. Why am I so hard to love when I love so hard? Please Lord, tell me I have not raised sons like this.

"Ok get ready for the poke, and here we go."

It burns as it goes in, it's still going in, I can't do this, and then it's done.

Dr. Zen comes in, all happy to see me, bounding up like a puppy, until he sees the tears gushing down my face. He looks nervously at Wayne then back at me. Dr. Zen is concerned, he doesn't know what to say, he paces. He wants to approach me, comfort me, but he just doesn't know how to do it and so he doesn't.

There. That's more like it. I'm used to that. I feel so much better.

I wipe my eyes dry. "I'm sorry, I'll be ok, go ahead, you gonna poke me too" and I smile up at him and he smiles back.

"No more pokes" he says. "Let's see what is going on here."

"I've started the dye" Wayne informs him.

Dr. Zen pulls the xray panel over the top of me and as soon as he sees the image of me on the screen above him he lets out a large exclamation. It sounds as if he is going to say "Oh shit" but he edits down to a really long "OH" which sounds like this is bad.

"It's not even in place, you don't even need to shoot any more dye. I can already see it, it's all tangled up inside her, look at this, it's a loop. It's a loop. The tip of the catheter which should be down in her heart vessel is way up here next to her collar bone."

He shakes his head and sounds like we may yet get a "SHIT" out of him, but he doesn't.

"Debbie, I am sorry to tell you, this is going to have to come out, and you are going to need to start over. I don't understand what happened here. Dr. Pierce is a fantastic surgeon, but I've never seen anything like this."

I get dressed. I sit in the tiny room where I just changed my clothes. My resolve is weakening. I am feeling really fragile.

Husband is sitting in the waiting room. When I come out, I can't talk. I just shake my head no.

We head over to the Cancer Center across the street. Dr. Zen has already called over there. I am told by a nurse of the Good Witch to just go home for today, meet with Hawkeye in the morning, and we'll make our next decision based on what he says.

We head home whipped. It has been a long month since my mammogram. Now it looks like i am going to add another rough week to that.

Next morning -

Have you ever gotten in to see any doctor on time? That is one of those things that make you want to go hmmm? Thanks Arsenio.

We wait for Hawkeye to saunter in. He wastes no time. "Well you are high maintenance aren't you?"

Oh don't even tell me you are going to blame this on me? I have a list of questions for him. The who, what, where, why, how and WTF? Spill it doc. and fast.

"Well in all the ports I have put in, and there have been a lot of them, I have never had this happen. Not once. I was trying to place the port low on your breast so that it would be concealed, and all I can think of is that your breasts are so..." he hesitated.

The Commodores enter the room.

She's a brick----house
Mighty mighty just lettin' it all hang out
She's a brick----house
The lady's stacked and that's a fact,
ain't holding nothing back.

He continues. "Well you are so voluptuous, that the only thing I can think of is that the weight of your breast yanked the catheter tube like a chain, and the whole thing came out of place and is now all coiled up near your collar bone."

I sink in my chair. "Can we just get to my biopsy results? What happened there? Is the cancer in my sentinel node?"

He looks through the chart. "No I don't think" he catches himself.

"I'm sorry, I spoke out of turn. The node was positive for cancer."

He hangs his head. I plead "Do you have any good news for me, anything, any little thing?"

He looks up then quickly looks back down when slapped with the disappointment and fear on my face.

"I love you?" he says sheepishly.

Then shave mo fo.

"Fine, let's get this done" I say and I am thinking to myself, you damn well better get me in right away. I don't care what you have to do, bump some other poor son-of-a-bitch, get me in.

See folks. This is the dark side of a scorpio. Don't cross us. Most of the time with me though, I just think ugly, I don't act ugly.

Note to self. You should have drank more, been felt up more, and gotten ugly more. Note to self.

"Sarah" he says to his lovely front desk Girl Friday "Move things around, get her in Friday morning. We'll fix this thing and see if they can get her in to her first chemo that afternoon. We'll leave the needle in." Then he was gone.

Sarah suggests we go around the corner inside the Cancer Center to the chemo area and talk to the nurses there. If they can get me in Friday afternoon for chemo, she will move things around to get me first on the list for Friday.

We walk down the long hall and confirm with the nurses. It's a go. We re-confirm with Sarah. She will call me later re what time I need to come in Friday morning, most likely 7am. He'll do the procedure at 8:30am and by 11am I will be back over to the cancer center to start my first chemo treatment.

You always were the lucky one.

At least I get a two day reprieve before my spa day in hell. Who woulda thought, another surgery, then my first chemo treatment. What a brutally long day to ice a brutally long month.

I set my alarm for 6:15; I wake up at 5 somethin. This has become a new habit for me. I still go to bed very late, usually 2 or 3 a.m. but now I wake up between 5 and 6am. WTH? I am already feeling nauseated and scared. Really scared. It's not so much what happens, it's the not knowing that kills me. I'm not big on surprises, I like to go in prepared. I guess it's a control thing. Actually I think it's a fear thing. I don't know. Sometimes I am like that jewish comedian Richard Lewis, I'm a little jewish, literally, and a closet pessimist deep under cover.

My grandmother was a Jewish juggler: she used to worry about six things at once.
Richard Lewis

We arrive back at my old stomping grounds, the outpatient surgical center. All the nurses are happy to see me, geez, it's only been a little over a week. Wonder girl anesthesiologist is not mine today, Father Mulcahy is instead. Wondergirl does stop by to say hi and pat me and give me love.

What is it with all these people at this hospital, I mean they are so kind and pleasant and dare I say downright affectionate? They really care about us? Or is it me? Oh geez, they think I'm going to die. Breast cancer. Poor thing. Going to lose those boobs and all that blonde hair. Like I told the Good Witch the first time I met her:

"All my life two of my biggest trademarks have been my hair and my big boobs. I guess I'm going to need a new gig. I might actually have to rely on substance a little more."

She fell on her ass, well almost. But inside I kill her. Right outta the park.

Enter Lt. Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy. Yeah this guy reminded me a lot of him, his sweet boyish good looks and his soft manner. He patted me too. My second anesthesiologist in a little over a week.

It's an awful feeling when all these people look at you and think "that poor bitch" and I mean that in a nice way. They know the there there I am heading towards.

Hawkeye stops by my bed to give his meet and greet before he gives this another shot. "So what we are going to do is take the old one out, and place the new one much higher up on the chest. You should be flattered that your volumosity..."

Volumosity? Just say it man. It's ok. I've got big tits. Two big bumps. Two luscious big bumps.

You are a foolish man but it's ok. I like you.

"Ok see you in there" and off he goes. They must put me out pretty quick cause I don't remember anything until I am coming out of it and trying to decide if I am waking up during the surgery or am I already in recovery? I can't open my eyes yet but I can hear a lot of chatter. When I do open them, I look at the clock. It's 10:30. I am really late going in or it's already over. I look down at Mopsy, she is bandaged like a mummy. I guess it's done. Poor little Mopsy takes the bullet for her sister. I never had a sister.

They call husband to come in with me. Hawkeye is right on his tail. "Well I completely changed how I do things to accomodate you missy. I did surgery with you sitting up. That's a first. I let your breasts fall in their natural position and I put the new port in based on that. I think this should work" and off he goes.

I am woozy. Very woozy. I check my phone to see who loves me and who doesn't.

I get dressed and carefully lift flopsy and mopsy into their flowered fuchsia hutch, my bra.

They wheel me out to the car and we make the short drive across the parking lot to the Cancer Center. We walk in, they are surprised to see us.

"Wow, you made great time, come on in girl, let's get you hooked up."

Finally. Finally. Give me the poison. Give it to me. Give it to me now.

I sink into the easy chair, she positions the iv bag on a stand next to me. "Ok the first few bags are nausea medicine, then we'll start with the real deal. You'll be in the chair several hours. Sit back, get comfy."

She opened up my pink polo shirt with the pink ribbon pin I wore for the occasion. She plugged me in. I was on my way.

To where I guess I'll find out. You still comin with me? Give me a signal.

Oh no, I was so intent writing I missed my deadline. Oh no. The clock has already struck midnight and I have left my glass slipper and my blog on the castle steps. Damn. Ok so you'll get two tomorrow. Get over it. Night. Oh wait. Ha. Cool. Because I started my first draft at 9pm something, that's what time the blog will post, even though I really didn't finish it till after midnight. Ha. I did it. One each day. Tomorrow is my one week anniversary.
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