Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dear John

Fortunately this is not THAT kind of dear John letter.

Seven months ago I invaded your space. It's hard to sit about five feet to the right of a crazy girl, isn't it?

I get that we work in a test lab which is set up like a classroom because that's where all the pc's are. But these desks make me fidgety because they're a little too high, and there is no keyboard tray, and the old clunker monitor is a little too low and I can't adjust the angle. So I am up high but then I slump forward and lean on my one elbow and I shift and sigh a lot. Sorry about that.

The daily nosebleeds have let up pretty much - yay! I know you probably think I'm a total hypochondriac when I sneeze, blow my nose, and then use antibacterial gel. But you all use my pc's too, and I don't want to contaminate anything. Just so you know, I feel totally awkward whenever I put chapstick or hand lotion on, because I know you see me -- but that soap in the ladies room turns my hands into the sahara. I try not to overload you guys with perfumey moisturizers. But who is wearing old spice these days? I know it's not you.. And it's also not one of the new modern ones. It is the original version, the one I asterisk as Crusty Old Sailor.

Thanks for the nice emails you all sent after my surgery. I know I worked two weeks in January, then disappeared for a month. (Let's use that word "worked" loosely, since for the first three days I had no idea how to switch my monitor from one system box to the next. )

Thanks for not saying "what is your DEAL, woman?" when I cried all day because my hair was falling out from the chemo. Or when I adjusted the wig 12,000 times. More sighing. Hmm. You wear headphones a lot, don't you?

Thank you for not remarking on the bad chemo days when I dragged myself in around 9:15. I couldn't have taken so much as a jovial "it's about time!" some of those days.

Thank you for not making any snarky remarks when I left an hour or two early EVERY DAY FOR SEVEN WEEKS for radiation, and got most of the easiest assignments to help make that possible.

Thank you for not remarking on my personal thermostat issues. I know I come in some of these summer mornings bundled up - like yesterday, a shirt, sweater, denim jacket. The outer layers come and go all day long, don't they? And hotflashes!! I turn on my fan... And a few minutes later it's off. Good, good times.

I know I am like Tigger or something. Up to go get a drink, then of course to the ladies' room. Repeat, often. You just sit there and work, and you are somehow still able to smile at me - like when some fool can't get their snack out of the vending machine that is literally a thin wall away from you, and Fool starts crashing and rocking the machine, and we look at each other and just roll our eyes... You know you're more likely to die from a vending machine falling on you than from a shark attack, right? It's true. I read it on the Internets.

So anyway, I gotta get back to work


(psych! It's Saturday. I'm gonna go out and plant some mums. But really, thanks man.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Like when I see a full moon in a bright morning sky

Every now and then a little explosion goes off in my head and I realize that I really did it. I made it. I'm done- - I did every treatment that I had to do, and I'm okay now.

On August 1 we had a big celebration -all day long I got texts and e-mails, but this is something different. It kind of sneaks up on me when I'm not expecting it, and is just crazy happy cool.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Running around

I can't keep up with everything that I have to do to regroup after all of our mini vacations, get the kids ready for going back to school, AND celebrate both their birthdays all in one month. Also, the one who's going to be sixteen is all about her party, because, she's **sixteen** -- cue the confetti shower --so a separate friends party for each kid this year, not just a bounce house and an ice cream cake, and her cake request changes weekly.

To add to my joy she keeps bringing up DRIVING, which is about as likely right now as Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama going out for a girl's night out on the town.

(It's SO nice to be so much more normal and not be all about doctor appointments .)

I emailed my college roommate last night and fished about getting out of running the Komen 5k. Luckily, she is not one of those annoying perfect athletes who run triathlons for fun. We are going to do the walk that day instead. I have no energy and my foot is acting up again with its plantar fasciitis tricks. Sooo I haven't been running and I am stressing myself out about needing to run, so I haven't been walking either, which is not helping my energy deficit. Maybe I will turn this around- but the pressure is off for now.

I keep remembering the woman I saw a couple of years ago... and the crowd reaction to her. She was obviously just coming off of chemo and she was tough and I want to BE that woman, but I look around at the piles that have accumulated EVERYWHERE and it's stressing me out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday art

No photo can capture the peacefulness of watching the waves come in, as I sit at a safe distance, in the shade, looking out at the sky and the clouds.

From here I can't feel the sandy water rush forward around my feet, hiding them; I don't feel waves progressively larger crashing into my body and threatening to knock me down or drag me away.

I can hear the sounds, but they're not as loud as when I am in the middle of the water, with everything swirling around me.

I have looked forward to this trip since it was offered to us - because who doesn't want a few days at the beach? - but also because it signifies Done.

It was a distraction all through radiation - "...and then we're going to the cape."

Now here we are, and time has slowed to endless late summer days of exploring lighthouses (and P-town) and sitting on the beach.

I am letting go of the day to day battle of thinking about being sick every five minutes or less. No more undertow of activity around me with procedures and complications and struggling to get my head up out of one wave of chemo after another.

I am grateful to be alive and well, and just sitting looking at the waves.

Some time ago my friend's husband was in a horrible car accident that disfigured his face. She said to me, '...he doesn't look like David anymore'. I said, in what I meant to be kind (but now wonder if I was unintentionally cruel) "but he looks like who he is now, and you still have him". I don't like those words echoing back to me when I am looking into the mirror. But I know they are true. I don't look like "me" anymore, but I'm not who I was. But I still have me. I still get to BE me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I just love these coasters....

Dear blog

I'm sorry I haven't been writing to you, Internets, but in truth after getting back from Pittsburgh I was exhausted and then we went to Buffalo a weekend later. This allowed us to visit cousins who kissed me and told me I looked great and gave me margaritas. I *love* cousins like that

We met my sister to reclaim my offspring and drove home. So in about nine days, it was over 24 hours of driving if my math is close to right. It destroyed my back because, welll.... It was about time for me to have problems with that. My radiation sites are Much! Better! and something has to be an obstacle to my running on a regular basis.

Summer seems to be almost over. We are going to use a house in Cape Cod for a few days; it was offered to us free of charge due to my illness... Very, very kind. I'm bringing running clothes when we go- isn't full-blown denial cute?

Dear summer, I wish you wouldn't leave just when I am finally starting to feel up to having a little fun. Fall is not really my best friend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I took off for a few days to Pittsburgh, to see my sister. It wasn't exactly spontaneous - it's been in the works for a while, and I got worried that I might not be able to go when I was dealing with my most recent bump in the road.

But we did make it there, and we went to the

This summer they have gargoyles everywhere. I loved it. I was a little bit stressed out (briefly) because I am borrowing a digital SLR these days and I didn't think ahead to charge up the battery. So I could take a couple of pictures, but then I had to turn offend camera.

I decided to embrace the situation and really THINK before I clicked ... It's so easy with digital to take far too many pictures. So I was pretty happy with what I ended up with. I didn't quite get them to flickr yet... But this is one shot.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Fun and games

With feeling better comes feeling GREAT. Joyful. And silly.

My daughter got faint-y having routine bloodwork done yesterday - we've all been there right? I was able to get her to laugh through her tears of mortification and then when we agreed she was a hot mess, she cried "I want cheesecake!" So she got it.

I am not keen on hot flashes, but whenever I have one I laugh at myself a little bit. It's bizarre to be cool all over but feel like your head is being put into a paraffin dip.

Yesterday I found some mousse in the closet. It's been so long since I've used hair products. My daughter bought me some shampoo that enhances brunette shine and we both pretend it is making my hair darker instead of salt and pepper gray. So I put some mousse in my hands, rubbed it through my 1/8" hair and turned to beam at my girl. "whaddya think?" She laughed. I did too, because it made no visible difference at all - "nothing? NOTHING?" - my hair is still too short to even noticeably spike. Oy.

This post brought to you by a song....

I wanna celebrate and live my life, singing hey- oh...

Monday, August 02, 2010


Dear Diva,
Please get well soon!

One of your many fans

Not so fast

So if you're the wincy kind, this post is not for you.

Radiation burns peak a few days after the end of treatment, from the cumulative effects. Dirty little secret! You're done. But you're going to hurt MORE next week! Congratulations! Thanks for playing!

Oh, and you will need to drink gallons of water to help your body try to repair all those cells. You will not stop being thirsty, 24/7. Cheers!!

Currently I get the sensation every few minutes that a long ultra thin needle is piercing my skin. I can be sitting very still and ka-chaaaaa!!! It's fun sitting with my droids and trying to remember NOT to grab my jumblies when I feel the piercing pain.

The burned, crispy skin is cracking, and here and there a slab lifts up and looks something like a bit of highway that didn't fare too well in an earthquake. Mother of pearl, it hurts when one of those attached flakes gets jarred.

Saline soaks are da bomb, yo. It was funny when Doctor blue eyes asked one of the newer nurses if she knew how to teach a patient to do saline soaks. She looked at him, looked at me and said, "here is the saline, you take some of this gauze... And soak it." Then she and I cracked up at the same time. Pour saline on gauze, and apply it to your parched desert skin, and admire how it soaks into the cells and makes them un-crispy... for a little while.

In other news, I apparently can not tolerate Aquaphor ointment, which they hand out at DBE's the way a dentist gives out floss. It turns my skin a weird flaming red. Zexy!

Good times! Maybe I should run off and join a carnival. I'll keep you posted on that idea.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


My friends on Fb are celebrating with me today. I'm done! One of my friends even mocked up a few shirts for me.

Going out to the track and will celebrate everyday life, today and every day.