Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What I Need

Spent the day with family, unwrapping presents, eating, laughing, eating some more, talking, giggling, eating, watched the worst ice skating show in the history of ice skating shows, ate some more, teased my brother, watched a great movie with my Ma while the dogs and my Dad snored down the house and then hauled my load of spoiled riches up into my warm apartment where my bunnies were waiting for me to return. Such a difference from last year. Such a gift.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


If it weren't for Facebook, Facebook Games, Television Shows, Movies, Books, Magazines, Cookbooks, Crossword Puzzles, Computer Games, Talking on the Phone, Cooking, Cleaning my Apartment, Doing Dishes, Cleaning Bunny Cages, Shopping, Laundry, Sleeping, Eating, Pooping, Peeing, Television Shows I've already seen, Movies I've Seen Again and Again, Talking to my Mom on the Phone, Singing in the Kitchen, Kissing Floofy Bunnies, Doctor's Visits and Blogging; I might get something done with my life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pretty Good Day

Yesterday was a visit to the oft referenced Huntsman Cancer Hospital to meet with my Radiation/Oncologist Dr. Poppe. I was pretty antsy-in-my-pantsy about it, knowing that it was going to be more of the poking, prodding, scoot down further on the table stuff as usual. On the way back to the room, while I was getting my vitals I hear this "Heidi?" and I turn around to see Melissa, the Radiation tech that was my companion five days a week for 2 1/2 months. She comes over, beaming with recognition and I start crying immediately, which of course made her cry. My blood pressure read higher than usual from the excitement, but the nurse didn't try to take it again because I just wanted it off so we could hug. The importance of these techs is paramount. You interact with them more than the docs for quite a while and Melissa was so warm and kind; to see her again on this side of things was significant.

Then, I met the new resident which is standard fare, she was much funnier and smiled a lot more than the last one. Major Bonus. I have been having a lot of pain after eating so much discussion about possible causes with both the resident and Poppe took place before any shenanigans happened south of my border. Best 2 lines of the visit came from the resident; when referring to the pediatric speculum she had to use she said in amazement "I've never used one so small." then "Hold on, I'm just getting more lube." I started to giggle, said "I have a joke for you there..." and glanced at Dr. Poppe who had to turn his head away to hide his giggling.

Conclusion? I don't have to come back for a YEAR! Just follow up with my OB/GYN with another PAP in six months, see a Gastroenterologist for what he suspects is pain from my not having a gallbladder anymore (removed long ago, part of Ehlers) and enjoy another 4 seasons. How amazing is that? To be a Doctor in a place that can potentially announce death sentences, and yet you get to tell people they don't have to come back for a year? Poppe said that is why he comes to work everyday.

On my way out I got another hug from my first nurse Tony, and then at the front desk I saw the doc that started my whole treatment program beginning the process with another woman. She was just like me at the beginning, didn't really look sick but she was holding on to her Huntsman binder that they give you as an intro to all that is about to happen. She was holding that information next to her chest as if the closer she clutched it the more it would seep into her. After he was finished with the new patient, I thanked Dr. Gaffney, shook his hand and me, my Mom, the new patient and her husband ended up waiting for our cars together. I told her what a wonderful doctor she was getting, and she looked relieved. I touched her on the arm, wished her the best and we looked each other in the eye and the distance from her starting and my leaving wasn't so great.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Counting my Vote

After I voted I met a man who gave me a big smile and asked me how I was. I said "Great! I just voted!" He answered "Me too, and for the first time, ever, in my life!" This man was in his late forties, early fifties. We talked very briefly about how exhilarated that single action of voting makes you; you get this sense of pride, even if nobody else in the surrounding booths agrees with you, you vote how you feel. When he noticed my "I Voted" sticker, he said "Damn you got a sticker, why didn't they give me one?" I pulled off my sticker and gave it to him. He put it on and said he would wear it all day. I suspect, he will be wearing that smile too.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day of the Not Dead

One year ago today at this time I was having parts of me removed. The parts you associate with being a woman, life and promise. The journey of a lifetime started with that removal of all future life outside of me being erased, and the clean start made just for me. Anniversaries mark celebrated events that occur every year; today is traditionally known as All Saints Day, or Day of the Dead. I see it as the day existence came into focus; everything that mattered, mattered and nothing else did.

I could not have done this without all of the love and support from my family, friends and those of you on the inter-webs I haven't even met in person. You have given me so much, so much more than you could possibly know. To be able to come on here an spill the contents of my heart and mind when my body was failing me in ways I could not have imagined. I admit at times I doubted my promise, but never the love. Never the love.

My Mom just called to sing Happy Anniversary. It so is.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Will Always Have Gum

Best Halloween Kid Interactions

5. I tell one boy to take a couple. He puts his fingers up to his chin, wiggles them like he's Dr. Evil and says "My idea of a couple is three." He then proceeds to take three.

4. After two kids finish taking their candy, one girl and one boy, I do something foolish like say goodbye. The girl was wearing a really cute Butterfly costume with great purple wings, she carried a wand and was super decked out. I say goodbye and in doing so I say "BYE FAIRY PRINCESS BUTTERFLY!" I can't be sure what she said, but she for SURE is no Fairy Princess Butterfly.

3. Doorbell rings, 3 maybe 4 times and when my Mom opens it a purple haired girl comes INTO the house, grabs the candy out of the bowl and immediately shoves it into her mouth still in the wrapper. Her Mom tries to get her to say thanks, but her mouth is full of the wrapped candy. She rang the doorbell three more times before she left the doorway.

2. I tell a large group of boys to take a couple (we see how that worked before) and one quite young boy says "I'll just take them all!" and he tried, until I said "No, see all these other people here?" He only took 5.

1. A boy about 4 years old in a Batman costume saunters up to the bowl, never says Trick or Treat, when he reaches the candy he begins a serious rummage. He looked over every piece of candy and when he didn't find what he wanted he looked up into my Mom's face and said in a voice as if he couldn't believe he had to even ask the question himself "Where's the Gum?" My Mom just said, "Sorry, I don't have any gum." He condescended for a Tootsie Pop.

I NEVER get tired of Halloween. The best costume this year was a two year old that a Mom had dressed up as a pile of leaves, which she was chewing on of course. I love the excitement, I love the shift; the freedom people feel to dress up and be silly. A shame we need excuses to be silly. Every year it is another chance, to smile so hard my face hurts.

Monday, October 29, 2012

High Tide of Gratitude

My bunnies do not like the nail-gun. I got onto the floor and tried to console Pickle, and he let me. Mostly. After a while, Pickle forgot about the noise and decided that he was going to check out what this fella was doing in HIS bathroom, and for most of the day to boot! But no, I ruin it. I don't let him cuz this guy is HUGE (we are talking Todd tall and football player stout) which makes his feet huge and if Pickle goes one way and he goes the wrong way that would mean a flat crunched Pickle. I'll be mean rather than have an injured bunny.

Right towards the end of my worker-man's stay today, Peanut wanted out of the bedroom (where he had been most of the day) so Pickle goes in his cage and worker-man gets his first good glimpse of Peanut. Peanut bounces down the hallway, does a little binky right past the jolly-drywall giant, and when Peanut stops, worker man nearly melts from the cute. He makes what could only be described as an estrogen laced moan, and asks to take a picture of "this creature" to send to his daughter. I can't stop smiling, explaining how he's a Lionhead, and the boss of the world... yada yada yada. I cradle Peanut so he can get a good close up of the Royal face, and he is just beaming as he emails the pic, and the description of my Mythical Mysterious Muppethead.

Construction on my apartment is going to last all week, according to the drywall/plaster/mudding/painter guy. As I type they are also still working on the main water line and I haven't had any water all day. I stored a bucket for use in the toilet and as I bail water INTO the toilet, I think about all the people on the East Coast trying their best to avoid water from Hurricane Sandy. The Weather Channel just alerted that Con-Ed has started turning off the power for parts of Manhattan and here I am using my computer, my television and phone. I just went through not having a fridge for a day or so, but there are now over 3 million people without power.

You can prepare for natural disasters, and they may never happen. Health disasters happen everyday as well. I wake up everyday grateful for my running water, electricity, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, cable and telephone services. I wake up everyday grateful that I woke.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


So, my neighbors are moving out and I went outside to say goodbye with Peanut in my arms cuz they have always been fascinated with him. He was purring cuz he was so happy to be in my arms but when the little kids came up closer to see him he went all "DON'T let these little buggers touch me! I'm just saying Lady! Kids Ewww Ewww! Back Away, Back Away!" The littlest girl Amelia (so in love with that name by the way) made the funniest face as her older cousin held her near. She kept on getting told it was a bunny, but I don't think she believed anyone. Katrina's younger brother couldn't believe anything would be named Peanut and did a really good job at respecting my saying that Peanut was frightened of kids and to not touch.

I have to say I don't want these neighbors to leave. They really aren't that great of neighbors; they are loud, messy, young, stupid and sometimes pretty inconsiderate. What scares the shit out of me is what could replace them. The devil you know, you know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One Girl Crowing

The crows have returned. Around my apartment complex is the most glorious murder of crows, and they are back. They went away for what seemed like an eternity, which was the time of surgery, chemo, radiation and another surgery. I truly thought I might never see them again. But last evening the entire sky above my apartment was specked with flitting and darting arrows of black, with their caws so loud they drowned out the rest of the world. I just stood there, looking up into the grey clouded sky, with the wind blowing leaves onto me and the crows flying over me. Back and forth, back and forth they flew landing from the highest tree branch, the field just north of me or crisscrossing in the air. It was an Audubon Aeronautics show with more than 100 crows as the main attraction, and I had a front row seat.

I feel calmer when they are here. I somehow feel they are meant to be near me; they like to chatter and are up to no good and for some reason I feel akin to those behaviors. When they start their naughty in the early morning and it is the first thing I hear, I smile. I really like smiling as the first action of the day. I can just blink my eyes, curl up in bed, look at the bleak light peak through my curtains and with a few mighty caws I know my world is right. The crows have returned.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thawed Out

Okay, day four of Americas Next Top Remodel and the kicker is my Fridge is dying. Again. If any of you listeners out there remember one Christmas Eve, not so long ago, my refrigerator went kaput on me and as I went over to check it I opened the freezer door and out poured bright red berry juice, all over the floor, my feet and down the refrigerator door. It looked like I had murdered someone, stashed the evidence in the freezer and out came proof of my crime all over my kitchen and I had to just stand there, and giggle.

This time; I have my entire apartment torn apart, men traipsing in and out all day long, no shower, holes in the ceiling that won't be repaired for about another two weeks, flooring that was supposed to be done today but couldn't( you know the whole they didn't tell me it was as bad as it is and I don't have the stuff I need here excuse) a toilet that needs to be replaced but can't be replaced until the flooring is done, exposed pipes to be boxed in, painting, spackle, patching and tons of thawing food. I will be getting a new fridge tomorrow (so they say.) The floor guy said he is coming back to do the flooring but he has to bring underflooring because if he just went ahead and did it, the floor would crumble away and turn to dust. I vote nay. The plumbers said they MIGHT be back to do the toilet if their boss lets them, if not the old toilet goes back on the new floor so I don't have to hold it till next week.

On the bunny front, Pickle thinks all of this is a great big new game: Who Moved the Apartment? or PEOPLE! PEOPLE! I GO WITH YOU! Peanut, well he just thinks if I am talking to these invaders it takes away from HIS time. He started chewing on the baby/bunny gate when the plumbers showed up and I was talking to them. I dared to dream I had time to let my boys out and after only five minutes the plumbers showed up. Pickle was in the hallway playing keep-away from the really nice young guy, running around him like it was part of the steeplechase and when the young man passed my bedroom he looked in, did a double-take then stammered "Your other bunny is on your bed." I say to him in a not so hidden "duh" tone "yeah." He walks down the hall, very slowly. Peanut with the knock out punch.

So, if I don't get a new fridge by tomorrow I have a lot of eating to do OR I have a lot of food to take to my Mom's house. I certainly don't have to worry about Todd or my Dad eating it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Gotta Mess

So, today is the second day in the quest of The Bathroom Remodel: Survivor Edition. And if we are keeping score, Pickle has proved to be the funniest and most amusing of the bunnies. Day one, after taking everything out of the bathroom, the hallway and off of the hallway walls I moved the bunny boys into my bedroom into their travel carriers with the door closed while three young men ripped out what was my tub and shower surround, cut out the drywall behind the toilet, hung exposed pipe that goes from my water heater/furnace closet over to the shower and cut a square hole above my kitchen sink cupboard where they threaded the pipe to start.

Pickle during all of this has been the most curious, of course REALLY not liking the noise, but his ears have been so telling I have just watched him and laughed. When the drywall guy came today, I kept them out in their cages knowing the mess and noise would be no where near yesterday. (I mopped 6 times last night. Seriously. The drywall guy, said I would only have to mop 5 times after he left today. Just twice. ha) Pickle's ears were so entertaining, so informative. When the drill would start, the ear closest to the bathroom would sproing right up, telling me "hey, Mom, check out that noise will ya?" Then, I would go over and give him praise and pets, tell him how sweet and handsome he is, he would calm down and then the footsteps on the stairs would creep closer and the eyes say "WHAT NOW?" Never freaked out, never panicked, just so curious, so observant and fun. Peanut meanwhile, had the sternest mad on. "Why are these assholes in my house? When are they leaving? When will my worship commence?" I go over, give him his due praise, and when it stops, he jerks out of it, alarmed. "Why would anyone stop petting me? Stupid."

They are out now, Peanut in the bedroom, Pickle in the living room lying up against Peanut's cage. Pickle has already tried to press his way into the bathroom and there is no way he can be in there. With exposed pipes, loose drywall bits behind the toilet (his fave hiding place) and exposed base flooring, the dangers are just too great. I am so diligent when in comes to the floor. I am one of those "take your shoes off when you come to my house" people. If there is anything on the floor, my boys should be able to chew on it. They put it there, or I put it there for them.

The other most amusing thing that happened during demolition was when they brought in my tub, the lead worker guy started singing "I gotta Tub, I gotta Tub, I gotta Tub, hey hey hey hey...." in the same melody as "Little Rascals" and my heart was so full. I might just sing that during my first shower.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Second Thought

A year ago yesterday was my diagnosis of stage 1b2 Adenocarcenoma Cervical Cancer. A year ago today, the very first thought in my head as I woke up in the morning was "I have cancer." That wasn't the first thought I had this morning, as I rolled over on my hip that was dislocated during my last surgery as a result to fix all the fall out from having cancer in my body, and the pain woke me up, the first thought I had was "ouch." I don't have the cancer, but I still have a lot of physical and emotional pain to deal with. The "Now What" stage of it all is such a strange and ambiguous arena. My brother took me and my parents all out to all you eat sushi (mine was veggie) for the anniversary and knowing that not so long ago I couldn't even eat a bowl of soup, for me, was quite staggering. I wore one of the hats that my wonderful aunt Ruthie's knitting group had made for me in preparation for my head to be bald from the chemo, in recognition of making it this far, and with hair. I tried to wear it with silent pride, yet something was off with me all day.

I went home, took my new medrol dose pack for my TMJ, cleaned bunny cages, watched Horrible Bosses and then settled down to dare to watch a movie I hadn't been ready to watch for over a year. 50/50. If you don't know about it, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young man that gets cancer and has 50/50 odds of surviving. I only have two complaints; at one point he sees a gurney in the hallway of the hospital with a body-bag on it and unless you got really REALLY lost in the bowels of the hospital, you are not going to see that and the other is one night after chemo he is sitting on the steps just waiting for his ride... you are so sick after chemo, sitting on a curb at night could secure you a hospital room. Other than that, I saw my own story, I saw Stephie's and ultimately near the end I ended up in the fetal position in a cackling sob. My eyes are still red.

My Mother had a dream while she and my Dad were away on their hunting/camping trip. In the dream she was mad at me for some unknown reason but Stephie stepped in and was defending me. I told her I had been silently, secretly questioning to myself if Dad was regretful that I was living and Stephie wasn't. She warned me it wasn't healthy to go there, but I know that these are survivor's thoughts and I shouldn't be afraid of them. My Mom just loves me, and is so happy for my life, she doesn't want me to suffer needlessly, even under my own thoughts.

This year has been so busy, so full. So full of appointments, car trips, surgeries, meeting new people, missing people, getting to know people better, getting to know myself better and trying to find the perfect hand hold on life. I haven't found it yet. But the amazing thing is to know I have more time to keep trying for it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Storm Clouds, Off The Wall and My Camera

Ticket to Ride

Tomorrow it will be a year to the day that the whole mess of mammograms, pap-smears and pelvic exams began this Miss Cancer's Wild Ride. Don't think Huntsman has a fastpass for chemo, radiation and surgery. But they do return phone calls, and yesterday I got a pretty good one. I had a CT scan late Friday night to see if the cancer had spread into my left hip that has been giving me quite a bit of trouble the last month or so, which was one of the major signs of the original tumor. A lot of pain, limited mobility and really no apparent reason for it to be hurting so much. They still have no sure idea as the CT scan shows NO NEW CANCER!!! No sign of fracture, no growths, just my enlarged left kidney and a left hip that hurts day and night, but no new cancer. Did you get that, no cancer. Have to go in to the Huntsman rehabilitation for a hip brace next week, see if that helps. The thinking is that when they had me in stirrups for the ureter re-implantation they either dislocated my hip or there might be some vascular necrosis. Vascular necrosis. Literal dead leg. Makes watching "The Walking Dead" all the more apropos, and I will relish every ghoulish moment with wicked twisted glee.

Thinking, reading and watching the world (and my body) is so different now. Post cancer. What I would have just chalked up to Ehlers-Danlos pain in my hip has to be scrutinized with a different filter. The Cancer filter. Is that pain just a regular pain? Is that new? Nah. Should I tell myself nah? What do I ignore and what do I worry about? Careful, too careful, not careful enough? Emotional pain is different as well. Shifting from accepting choices made in the past are no longer living in my present, yet knowing those choices could mean the actual end of my life.

I went to the State Fair last week and Blues Traveler was playing. Watching people that are no longer as young as they were when they first fell in love with that band shake their asses and boogie on down, made me so thrilled, and alone. I was proud of the woman that forgot herself completely and danced up and down the aisle, which made for a better show than what was on stage. The best me party in town. Yet while I was there, I was ten different places as well. The other BT concerts I went to with Neil, the concert we missed when John Popper broke his leg and instead of our trip to Denver we went shopping and that was the weekend I got the true love of my life, The Bun. I heard how much their music had changed and I thought how much I had changed and with the choice of loving someone, I put my life in danger.

Cancer is a wild ride. So is love. I'm not going to buy the regret ticket.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sing a Song

I telegraph most of my actions through song. Yup, when I am in the kitchen making popcorn I start singing "I love popcorn, yummy yummy popcorn. Popcorn popcorn popcorn. Gonna eat it up." It isn't the same every time, I just start singing and whatever happens happens. Just now with my Bunny Boys, I got them some hay and I started in on hay, and hay time and yummy and it ended in a big YEAH FOR HAY! This is all day long. Pickle has a jingle. Peanut has his own. "Its da PICKLE TIME!" and he knows it is time to run around like a maniac let loose in a horror film. Peanut gets a softer refrain of "Peanut Peanut Peanut, I love Peanut" and I announce his presence as you would a royal "There's the Peanut!"

I am either singing out loud or in my head at all times. Even in my sleep. In conversations, phrases and words remind me of songs and I have to sing them out (ask J.D.) so this singing goofball nonsense made-up songs when I am alone is the product of not having the call-and-answer trigger effect of interacting with other human beings. So, the saying is you know you are losing it when you start talking to yourself, and then you know you are truly far gone when you start answering back. Suppose I should look out for white coats any day now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Word Up

I was just in the shower washing my face when I snucked up some soapy water. Not too fun, but what a great word, snucked. A combo of snort and sucked that more than adequately describes the action of ingesting flowing water unintentionally. As I finished my shower with the taste of rose soap in my mouth, I remembered my first obsession with a word. Zit. I was mystified that a group of people had somehow gotten together and decided that the appropriate name for the red protrusion on your face would be Zit. "Why Zit?" I kept asking my Mom, over and over and over. "Is it because that is what it sounds like when you pop it?" I seriously would lie in bed at night pondering how the word Zit made it into the dictionary. This is of course before the intertube-nets and now we have Urban Dictionary that could tell me all sorts of things I don't even wanna know. The English Language has over a quarter million words excluding extinct words and inflections and we are making new (and not so fancy) words every day. And yet, I have been pondering this recent colloquialism that has sprouted up; butthurt. I have heard through the years "chapped ass" "chaps my hide" and my Mom used to go so far as to say "he mucked his chaps." But this butthurt stuff, I really don't think people know what they are saying. I think some girl overheard someone having a proper conversation and when the thick of it came to "she was all BUT HURT" meaning she was everything besides harmed, not damaged, no scrapes or bruises..... the girlie said to herself "hmmmmm, butthurt? better get some butthurt paste for that." And the web snucked that shit right up.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not Chicken

There are a LOT of things I cannot do; long division, make a human, rebuild a transmission, cure cancer, get an erection. Yet there are things I can do. I can somehow, even in the depths of the darkest deep, see the ridiculous and that will always make me smile. I can rock any one else's baby to sleep. I know the most random trivia about the most random shit possible AND most importantly, I make the best soup. Ever. I don't typically need a recipe (although I do use them on occasion) I just open the cupboard and see what I can make out of what I have. Put it in the pot and go with it. Kind of like my life. Take what I have, see what I can do with it. I usually end up with a lot of gas in the end, go figure.

Tonight, I ventured outside the soup arena and made a casserole... a vegan version of my Mom's Hot Chicken Salad... Hot Not-Chicken Salad. I so rocked it. I get sorta sad sometimes standing in my kitchen with these awesome creations that only I get to enjoy (flip side, I get more in the end) knowing the ewwwwww factor it would induce in most of my family members and some friends. I just looked down at this 75% organic and absolutely non-gmo dish, knowing I did this. It isn't much, and I had to take breaks in between cutting up the creminis, scallions and seitan then mixing it with all the other ingredients, baking it and then all the dishes after ugh ugh ugh. I think it actually took me most of the day to make. Between breaks, cooking and now blogging, it isn't a wonder I don't do a lot of things. But I do have a big casserole of Hot Not-Chicken Salad waiting for me, and cupboards of possibility.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sesame Street - Song Of The Count

Still Counting

When I was young, I wanted to be three things; a ballerina, an astronaut or Charlie Bucket from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." A ballerina because at the time, they were what I considered the most graceful and beautiful example of a female, an astronaut because being in space and seeing what no one else has seen was more exciting and beyond my own imagination than I even knew, and as for Charlie Bucket, he was the best, nicest and purest character I had read in a book. Still is. When I would draw pictures of the universe in class at school it would include the planets from our solar system, some stars and then the rest was just empty, finished at the end of the paper. I would stare at it, thinking about how could a universe have an end? I would think about the edges of the universe when I was 8 years old and then lie awake at night trying to stretch my mind's limited imagination (still do.)

There is proof that the universe is expanding. Well, now there is proof that human hearts are shrinking. I did a lot of crying last night. Some from the actual pain in my body, some from the metaphorical pain in my heart. I watched the Republican Convention on television and from what I see and hear, I am their enemy. If the top of the ticket gets their way, everyone under the age of 55 would be thrown off the Medicare and Medicaid roles. Sure, that might be hard to do with a big D senate, but isn't the big dark question that they want to do it at all? I have had some people tell me that I am "one of those people" that deserve the help I receive, that I am somehow more special. Everyone else fits nicely into the big Cadillac 25 baby daddy drug pushing cell phone juicy wearing refuses to dig ditches category. Problem is, I am everyone else. You throw me off, I am homeless, or dead.

Also when I was young, I had a most favorite album that I listened to so much that I had it memorized. Still do. "The Count's Countdown" from Sesame Street, voiced by Jerry Nelson that passed away on the 27th. This record is such a part of me, it has become everyday conversation, either out loud or in my head.

Pieces of my youth are falling away, either the illusion of a finite universe, the delusion of Charlie Bucket and infinite goodness and the facade of the body as graceful beauty. Yet somehow, all this does is make me want to crawl into my Mother's lap, and listen to 45s.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Lionhead Rabbit Peanut - Hopping, Chewing and Nibbling

Cuz He's a Yittle Guy

So, I was up all night with a very very sick and in a LOT of pain bunny. From 8:30 last night until 5:30 this morning I was rubbing Peanut's tummy, or holding him, or crying, or giving him a syringe of water, or rubbing his bloated tummy then having him snuggle his teeny tiny body so close to me he nearly disappeared. He was shaking from the pain.... his only 3 1/2 pound body was one giant heart beat. He was either hiding from me or racing to me with this expectant gesture of "fix it, fix it" which he knew I had been trying to do all evening. He gets soooooo pissed at me for doing what I do, but he knows. Of all of my bunnies, he is the commander, but he knows when I am trying to help, and last night when he was in such distress, he literally RAN to me to make it better. Bunnies instinctively shut down when there is pain, so I just kept bugging him. Rubbing rubbing, to keep the peristalsis going and not let happen to him what happened to The Bun. Peanut is tiny. You don't expect him to be so tiny when you see him because he is so fluffy, but when you actually hold him, he is so small it can be startling. Last night, when he was so sick and trembling, this tiny creature in my arms, who has so much power, gave in to me. I was this black hole of lacking and all I could do was talk to him sweetly, kiss him, and wait.

Have I ever told you that I have the most wonderful Mother in the World?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Scissor Sisters - San Luis Obispo

"Loneliness is never black or white..."

Whenever I leave my apartment, people that know bits of my story ask how I am doing now. Depending on the depth of our relations, the conversation can range from a nod with an accompanying smile OR a lie. I feel like I have to lie to make people feel better about asking. They want me to feel better, so I tell them that I do, which I do to an extent. I am not going through chemo or radiation. Bonus. I do not have a bucket of pee to carry with me everywhere. Super Duper. And yet. It is hard for people to understand why I am up and trying to be normal while still feeling like crapity crap. But what else is there? I lie at home either in bed or on the couch for as long as I can, waiting. But waiting for what? I go about my business, running errands like every other busy human body, cruising through the traffic with my newly made Scissor Sisters CD from my lovely J.D. and I can't stop smiling. Yeah, my hair is a mess and my insurance agent that only remembers me by my bunnies' names gave me one look and said "I don't mean you look bad, but you don't look good." After, I flitted away with the music carrying me over the weight of my body and the heat and as I stopped at a light, I looked up and a flock of birds was leaving their perch from the top of the Court House. All I felt was freedom... the music, the car, the wings.

I don't need to lie, pretend or wait.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Unlimited Range

Sooooo, who wants to hear about my uptown white girl problems? Do I even want to talk about my NOT third world starving in a malaria infested pit of my own feces problems (well pit of my own feces is for me to know... oops.) You know, the same shit different day spiel. My old roommate Michelle would say that the world was fine cuz she was "free, single and 21" and I am near to double that math. So, why do I get to nearly incapacitated when it always comes down to money and health? If it isn't my lack of money and the emergent need of it, then it is the nagging, lurking, looming specter of my body.

My fancy schmancy air-conditioner was on the brink of petering out yesterday and once again, who came to the rescue with her trusty pocketbook? Yup, you guessed it, my super duper Mom. She needs wings and a halo, with a cape and Super Mom logo - maybe a fairy wand. (No tricked out car cuz she couldn't see out the windows to park it and she really likes the Subaru anyway.) Why would my nicey nice air-conditioner be at risk so soon? Bunny hair. Yeah. Even though I clean out BOTH filters as per the instructions, when the awesome fix-it guy showed us the guts it was SMOTHERED with bunny fuzz. It was ridiculous, amazing and embarrassing. "Hey, you wanna come over and fix my bunny hair sucker-upper, erm crap collector, derp I mean air-conditioner?" It is fixed, my apartment is no longer 89* and I now know how to take care of it all by my lonesome.

My fancy schmancy left hip has been hurting for weeks. I have limited range of motion and I finally decided to call my Radiation Oncologist to give them a heads up. I told the nurse, she pulled my chart. Called me back within the hour, I see the doc on Friday for an X-ray and follow up right after. I am impressed by their quickness as well as worried by it. It could be damage from radiation, bone loss from radiation, lymph nodes, cancer in the lymph nodes, nerve damage.... list goes on, who knows. Could be nothing. It is me, the weirdo. I expand the list of possibilities exponentially.

Last night, in the heat of my apartment, with all of the pain my body was throwing at me, the ever present knowledge of surviving off of my parents.... I watched the Olympics, and cheered. I cried, and swore. Hollered, laughed, marveled and witnessed bodies at their peeks. I would forget which side I was cheering for, because I was so happy to watch people do their best, no matter the country, the side, the race, the war, the politics. In my poor-tiny-rich apartment, MY body might have limited range of motion, but neither my love, nor my dreams do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Connecting Happy

One of my goals since the cancer, surgery, then the other surgery series of events, was to find as much of my happy as possible. I made mental lists; learn how to use my pressure cooker and use it, go to concerts, learn guitar, read more, listen to music more, get back to knitting and crochet, and the big big one is to go to Paris. Some of these are easier than others and the ones that may seem easy aren't as easy as I thought originally. Pressure cooker, done. Music, done. Reading, semi done. I have about three books going at the same time and none too soon to be completed; movies, television shows, rabbits, sleep, food, bathroom visits, doctor's visits, telephone calls and my body have interrupted my reading goal. Knitting and crochet were picked up and then dropped. I did go to one concert last night, with my intrepid and daring Mother. The experience was less and more than what I had hoped, or planned.

Let's start with how cool is my Mom? She braved the heat, the insolence of 20,000 assholes that showed up mostly late for a $5 concert in the park and she did it with a smile, curiosity and all for MY HAPPINESS. I started out the evening crying, just a bit (come on, my 61 year old Mom was going to a hot outdoor concert to sit on the hard ground with her arthritis to hear a band she had only heard of cuz I played them while we went to my chemo appointments, risk dehydration all because my friends have lives and don't like the same music as me.) The band playing was Band of Horses and I have loved them for quite a while. How can you beat going to see someone you actually like for $5 when Fiona Apple tickets are $45 for a show just next week? Concerts are different and people are different from when I frequented them, oh say ten years ago. I know this sounds like a "Kids these days" rant, and it just may be. 20 and 30 year olds at this thing wouldn't look you in the eye. They were rude, pushy and ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS on their phones. They didn't even seem to be there for a concert. Beer, food and showing off their asses (I mean asses, I saw more than a handfull of lady parts) as the hoardes walked by me. No one sat still to just absorb the show. I had so many humans rushing past me, stepping on my shoes (that one and only guy did say sorry) the others bumped or actually jumped over my Mother as she was lying on the ground. Yes, three prick males actually jumped over my Mother's head as she was lying on her back, I of course in protective angry mode yelled out "WHAT THE FUCK?" and they just kept on, being stupid, rude and oblivious. One insidiously dickish guy jumped over us with his skateboard in hand almost hitting my Mom behind me. I said right to his face, much to his astonishment "REALLY?"

I know my temperament might have been affected by the heat and my kidneys, but I was the ONLY one in our area singing, clapping and swaying to the music. I was the only one looking at the stage. I may have been the only one aware of the name of the songs playing or the words being sung. There seems to be this disconnect, and I can't connect to the gap to define it. What I can connect with is how much I love my Mom and how grateful I am for every moment that I have with her. I can connect with how much my family wants to protect me from even the little harms life incurs. I did get to connect with the music, for a few moments, while I closed my eyes and swayed, singing loud like no one else could hear me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Books have the same enemies as people: fire, humidity, animals, weather, and their own content. - Paul Valery

I just wish I could watch one movie, one television show, or read one book without someone dying, almost dying, having someone they love die, their dog die or the entire race of which they belong be on the brink of dying. I could go without being left at the alter, or cheating, or thinking of cheating, being abandoned, lying, being ridiculed, falling apart, having Alzheimer's, getting cancer, anyone at anytime getting cancer or knowing anyone with cancer, married too young, marrying the wrong person, marrying the wrong sex or never getting married when all they ever wanted was to get married, infertility, too much fertility, miscarriages, still births, kidnappings, murders, rapes, stabbings, shootings, bombings, bank robbers, hostage takers, war, the effects of war, PTSD, superheroes, supervillans, aliens, alien invasions, zombies, worldwide epidemics, prejudice, stupidity, hate, loss.

Guess I am left with "Winne the Pooh."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Water Works

Plumbing. It has been all about the plumbing. And pipes. And what goes through the pipes. On Tuesday I had my Nuclear Kidney scan and then after met with my Urologist. The test involved me getting injected with a radioactive isotope followed by a pretty strong dose of a diuretic that once it was introduced, it felt like my kidneys went into hyper-drive. I was SUPPOSED to lie under the machine for 20 minutes for the scanner to get results and my bladder to fill up as full as possible from the empty state where it began.... no such luck. I was determined, but I just couldn't hold out. The pain from just my kidneys overreaching and then my bladder to near balloon popping, I didn't stand a chance no matter my intentions. Then after a major pee and more pictures we went up to visit with the doc. He looked over the results and said that he would like to see the kidneys working as close to evenly as possible and mine are working where the left is 38% and the right is 62%. Not too unexpected this close to surgery but the biggest issue is the rate of how they fill up and empty. There is a magic number assigned, allotted for this filling and emptying and anything below and around 10 is great, anything higher is of concern and anything around 20 is surgery time. My left kidney is around 12, my right is a 16. There is also a small blockage up close to the right kidney which would not be due to any complications from the original cancer surgery. Speaking of cancer, they told me that the chemo was going to be hard on my kidneys. Is this what they meant? I could have been born with this and now that the right kidney has to do all the heavy lifting/filtering it is just too much.

In the room with my Urologist was a med student, standing well over six feet tall, rocking back and forth from his toes to his heels as we talked about all of this. He didn't know anything about me, didn't say a word until my doc let him in on the fun of me. My doc gave the student the scoop on the reason for the re-implantation; it was because of cancer, and then my doc spilled the Ehlers-Danlos and Thalassemia beans. The student said he recognized Ehlers from a test he had just taken (nobody recognizes it unless they specialize in the field) and then the kid got all bug eyed and said "Oooohh, I've never met ANYONE with Thalassemia before." I giggled, then counted out all of my ailments for him like he hit the jackpot and he interjected... "You should hand out pamphlets!"

My other set of pipes that carry the water throughout my apartment complex have been another issue all together. The main line sprung a leak, make that three leaks, and the water had to be shut off for the whole complex. I got this knock on the door from another tenant with a big orange bucket telling me to fill 'er up to use that water for the toilet! No running water for a night and day but I just peed and peed into the toilet, which is what I have been doing anyway. I pee so much anymore I only flush every other pee. No use wasting good clean water on my grey water.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


When Stephie was dying she started to give away her possessions. When she asked me what I wanted, there was only one item. A blanket. When we were young my Mom made the three of us these fantastic blankets called Snug Wraps. They were a kind of snuggie, homemade with quilt ties and velcro snaps at the appropriate places so you could basically wear your blanket. Me, Todd and Stephie loved them. They were all different fabrics and just fit us. Well, Todd being a brother borrowed mine (take it out of the closet cuz it was there borrow) for an outing with his friends and it never came home. So, when I knew Stephie was leaving this Earth I only wanted that one blanket; that was made for her, by my Mom with love, that looked like her and every time I smelled it I would think of her and when she gave it to me to sleep with the last time I slept at her house she was embarrassed that it had a stain, the one thing I wanted, but I just laid there and cried touching the stain over and over.

I have a lot of blankets, people have made them for me, I have bought them and many many have been given to me. I had one specifically sent to me by my Aunt Sue to use during my chemo that is wonderfully light and warm that makes me smile every time I see it. The one blanket I haven't been able to use during all of this is My Stephie blanket. I used to get so much joy in putting it on my bed, I would just smile when I would see it in my cupboard. Now, there is such grief mixed with guilt that if I were to cover myself with it I don't know how long it would take me to stop crying. I get to wrap myself in her memory whenever I dare.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Put in My Place

So, I started out today a bit grumbly. Well, I was more than that, I was grumpy as hell. It really started out last night when my eye swelled crazy up from my branby new fancy-ass mascara and I looked like I started my own girl fight club. No, it is just me and another thing for my body to rebel against. So, this morning with my punchy eye and two hives on my face, I set out to return the offending mascara (which JC Penney was super awesome in exchanging) and what do I find taped to my front door, but a notice that construction is set to begin on my bathroom starting July 3rd at 8am. Yes, that is when the freaking out commenced and didn't end for some time. I called the office, but it was closed early, for the holiday. Yeah. I went out to the work shed and talked to the head maintenance man and told him that I was more than a bit concerned about the starting date since I have a nuclear kidney scan that morning, I have my bunnies and it is a million and ten degrees. They plan the construction to take about three days, leaving me without water and no bathroom, in this heat. Tearing out walls to make way for a new water heater and new shower tub surround will be wonderful, AFTER. Not right now, when I have two bunnies and sweaty stinky men (that I actually feel sorry for that have to work in this unbelievable heat) traipsing through my apartment, making piles and piles of dust and making me move the entire contents of my bathroom and the huge closet that holds a majority of my belongings elsewhere (elsewhere being my bed and bedroom.)

My first and major concern was my bunnies, where to take them? I couldn't leave them in the apartment with the heat, noise and dust. My Mom at first suggested her living room, but as she has two huge dogs and one can knock over a couch just by jumping up to see you from his excitement, I think I will beg my brother to allow them sanctuary in his room for our exile. I only had one bunny carrier, from The Bun, so I needed to get another. While I was out exchanging my mascara I picked up another carrier and after all this running around, sweating from the heat, grumbling, punchy eye and still keeping on bladder and kidney malarkey I was so grateful to get home to my boys. Then, I turned on the news. Ohhhhh, the news. The thing I have avoided since the cancer started. What do I see, people losing their homes to fire. Am I the biggest asshole or what? Me grumbling because my home is going to be made better, and here are people being evacuated, just miles away from me and my sweet bunny boys. As I type this, Peanut is right next to me on the couch pressing me for pets, so if anything is miss-typed.... oh well.

I ate soup tonight that I made in this kitchen. I watched TV, I used the bathroom, I talked on the phone, I pet my bunnies and later I will sleep on my bed, in the bedroom. I have a place. I make this place mine. It is electrifying to know this.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hand Holding

This afternoon, I was sitting in a crowded waiting area, and I was waiting. I was watching the others and I noticed how I was the youngest one there. I saw their faces. Then I saw all of their hands. Hands I imagined holding other hands. Hands I saw holding babies when they were born. Hands that held hammers. Hands that fought, hands that caressed. Hands that were once young, soft and supple but are now aged, dry and wrinkled. Hands that are nervous. Hands that are holding on for more time. Hands that will hold someone's hand for the last time. I looked down and wondered who would be holding mine?

Friday, June 8, 2012

... and then I'll miss you.

I overestimated myself. I thought I could go shopping for groceries AND carry them up the stairs AND put them away AND then do both bunny cages. Then have no ill effects. (See, the confidence that comes with that taste of normality doesn't mean I should take humongous gulps) Then I agreed to watch my cousin Sissy's little three year old boy Mason the following day. I haven't watched him in over 6 months since all of this started. She was in a lurch and I missed the funny little bugger. Wednesday night was sucky, pain pain pain but I was excited, truly, to get to play. I mean it. I wanted to play. Like a kid, with a kid. So Thursday comes and the kiddo shows up, and what does Peanut do after Mason only being here for 5 minutes? He jumps up on my bed, and pees on it. I really think this was Peanut's way of saying "Um, listen... you pay attention to me. You love me. No other little creature. Got it? If not, let this be a little reminder." So, Mason helps me strip the bed all the while repeatedly saying "Peanut peed, Peanut peed." Later in the day, while I am getting Pickle a treat of lettuce and saying Pickle's name over and over to entice him to his special treat, Mason mutters "mmmmm, I like pickles." Then, while watching the bunnies eat their lettuce, he informs me he doesn't eat salad while scrunching up his face, implying that anyone who does, is crazy.

Later on, with a kid, a diaper bag, a laundry basket of bunny soiled bedding, a screaming bladder, wincing kidneys, complaining ureter and the remains of an inner ear infection I headed out to my Mom's. Mason was excited to see Barbara. He likes to say Barbara (little kid lips saying Bawb-ar-Wa). He sat next to her on the couch with his plastic green tractor. He threw the kong in the backyard for Bud, but was mystified that Cooper didn't want to play as well. Then, the three of us tried to go to the local park that is being rebuilt, but there were NO SWINGS! How can there be a park, with all types of slides and jungle gyms, but not one single swing? So with no swings, Mason had no interest in the park and we left for home BUT not before a REAL LIFE tractor honked and waved for Mason and drove down the street where Mason was certain that he was going to dig in the dirt. Siss was having her vehicle serviced so I needed to pick her up at the repair shop, so to fill the time we putzed, shopped and got coffees. At one point I was getting out of the car and Siss exclaimed in the funniest voice "Holy crap, your ass is smaller than mine!" I turned around, stuck my head back in the car......paused, paused some more, looked her in the face, then said "I'm sorry?" We both couldn't stop laughing for quite a while. But, I have to say my favorite sentence of the day came from Mason. When it was time to leave my parents' to go get his Mom, I teased him and said he could just stay there while I went to get her. He put this thoughtful look on his face, paused, smiled "Nah, I go too. Get my Mom, and then I'll miss you."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Emotional Swing

Okay, here comes an emotional swing. I have had this stuck in my back pocket since I was diagnosed and haven't taken it out, well in public anyway. I'll get asked in mixed company how I am doing, some won't know about my diagnosis and they will ask, out of curiosity and I am all about sharing information. When you tell people (specially males) that your cancer is cervical cancer, the air gets a little cooler, a little more distance grows and the unspoken definition of how a women gets cervical cancer hangs above waiting to drop like a dirty dirty bomb. Cervical cancer is the Dirty Cancer. You get it from sex. So, me being me I sometimes want to say "Oh, I have that slutty cancer." If you know me, there is so much irony in that sentence. I have only had sex with one man. Ever. And the last time that happened was twelve years ago. You can go and read that sentence again. We lived together, bought a house. Then he left in fabulous douchebag fashion and last September on a routine gynecological visit (meaning I had been having them every year) I was tested positive for HPV and had my first abnormal PAP in those twelve years. How did I never test positive all those years? (I am a freak of nature naturally, so anything goes) My wonderfully kind and sweet gynecologist (who, to my devastation has decided to retire) also informed me that women who take birth control for extended periods of time without ever having children are also likely to have cervical cancer. I had to take birth control for other reasons, say for having such treacherous periods that I couldn't leave the house for weeks at a time, you know those reasons. So, the one two punch. Cancer from ever deigning to have sex, and then from not having enough of it.

Am I mad at ever deciding to be in a relationship, to ever have sex ever? Men don't have a test for HPV so most just go around willy nilly with no signs and we females end up with the majority of the life threatening consequences. Is the best way to just wrap yourself in cellophane and never have sex again? If I ever see Neil again will I punch him in the penis? Or do I just feel rage at the universe for giving me the kind of immune system that would hold onto a virus that any other human would have discarded after three years? Do I hold up my fists and shake shake shake them because my uterus was never a fit candidate for children to start and I had to take medicine to keep me from bleeding so much every month that I could operate as a relatively normal human being?

No. It was how it was. It is how it is. It will be how it will be.

Will there be a penis punch in the future? Anything is possible.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New Presciption

I didn't know I couldn't see until I was in the fifth grade. When you are young (or maybe not so young) you think that the way you view the world is the same way everyone else views it. In my case it was very very fuzzy. I had no idea that other kids could see what was on the chalkboard from the back of the classroom, or even from the front of the classroom for that matter. I saw things how I saw them, or didn't see them and I just went on with it. When it was discovered that I couldn't see, after I was continually moved closer and closer to the front of the class while still never being able to see the board, I finally figured out something was wrong. I will never forget the ride home from getting my new glasses, wearing them for the first time. I sat in the passenger seat, beyond starry-eyed, pointing out all the new things I could see. "Mom, I can see the leaves on the trees! Mom, I can read that sign from here! Mom, I can see the snow on the mountain!" It went on and on, while my mother silently cried as she drove the car. She was so sad that she had no idea her daughter was nearly legally blind, and to hear me exclaim my excitement to finally truly see the world in all of its intricate delicacies was a lot to handle.

I have been thinking about that moment a lot, not only because of my mother, but because of the concept of focus. Cancer changes your view, and shifts your focus. What once was fuzzy, isn't. Everything is newly framed.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I have been tense. Feeling tense and not knowing why I felt tense made me tense. Then I stopped, and thought. My Mom told me I am a good thinker. I trust my Mom, so I just laid on the bed and thought. Of course there was a bunny running in and out of the room, binkying on the bed, sticking his nose in my face reminding me how much I love having them in my life, in my apartment, in my face. Between laughing at Pickle have the time of his life chewing and leaping, climbing and nosing, and me just reaching a calm that hadn't been there for more than a week, I realized why I was so tense. My body had been actually holding the "what now" status of my everyday that has moved from cancer cancer cancer, to I HAVE NO IDEA! I am in this strange limbo, a flip side to the hospital waiting room. There is waiting, but waiting for what? I still have to wait for more scans, but now less frequently. I may have to wait for years to ever know if cancer will come back. In life there is always waiting, yet this is different. There is a slowing down, and a slowing down of the urgency to feel the scare, the danger of losing the life. Now, how to feel THIS life? I smile all the time. I am grateful for the smallest things. There is this want for more, yet I tell myself "in time, in time." Then the scare comes back and time feels so fragile. Now to gauge where I am able, sure enough in my body AND my mind to step full into the summer sun and stick out my face.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Extra Kick

"There is too much, let me sum up." Inigo Montoya

So, okay on Wednesday, it was a pretty big day. We had an appointment with the surgeon, then pharmacy, then lunch, then pedicures, a pit stop at my apartment, then my Mom dropped me off at my cousin's and I went to my first ever "Slumber Party" where the doctor's order of putting something in your vagina once to three times a week is the name of the game. Then I stepped in a hole in the yard as I left Nadine's house, fell like a ton of bricks and sprained my ankle. I took all day yesterday to recover, and am still limping. It is quite funny to see I am sure, I can't step out and view myself, but I still kind of hunch to the left and sometimes hold my left side and NOW I limp on the right from my ankle. In the right lighting and with the right groans (which I do) I could stage a zombie attack in the parking lot. WHICH is how I must have been appearing to people, a zombie, during all of my treatments. The saying of the day was "your coloring is so much better" or "you look so much better." What the hell color was I? Nearly translucent with a splash of green thrown in? I will get the occasional, "you are still pale" but I was always pale? How much paler did I get? Well, actually, how pale can a person get? I truly had no idea. I must have been scaring little children. I could have been an extra in a zombie movie, and missed my chance.... literal Walking Dead and I was too busy to notice.

One supremely cool interaction at the hospital was with a male receptionist while I was checking in. He was asking the standard questions, getting cards and such when a nurse walked up behind him, checking out the waiting room behind me. He asked her what she was up to and she answered "Oh, just shopping." I giggled, "shopping, for what?" She gives a big Vanna wave across the span of the chairs and said "Oh, for all the cool kids." I looked down at the receptionist and said "Ahh, with the pumped up kicks." He choked laughed, did a spit take, stared at me then said "Seriously, that was so awesome." The nurse just stared at us, confused. She stammered, "but, but I don't.." I pointed to the young man, I pointed to me and then said "That's cuz we are the cool kids."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Righty Tighty....

If you have never had a pelvic exam, and/or are a male human being, you might want to think seriously about reading this blog post. I mean it. Gonna be some major girlie talk. Speculum. Vagina. Lubricant. You still there? Okay, here goes. I may have said earlier that I have a super cool Radiation Oncologist. One of the major reasons he is so cool, is that he gets my sense of humor, I mean he actually laughs at my jokes. He genuinely thinks I am a funny person. On our last visit (I say we like a royal we cuz I include my Mom in all things) he had promised to save the pelvic exam. I asked him "save it for when? for when I get a craving? like potato chips?" He was chuckling so hard he could barely answer that the exam would be better for my cholesterol than potato chips, but most likely happen next visit. It happened. Any woman that has had this exam knows how uncomfortable, embarrassing and possibly humiliating it can be. Well, after all of the surgeries, exams, scans, x-rays and tests I have had through all of this I didn't really think one more would break me. I was wrong. I went in with my regular sense of humor, even quoting my regular Gynecologist saying "You can never be too rich or too far down the table." My doc and his resident were both laughing. Then, the speculum had to come out. Then, it was discovered I required the pediatric speculum. With radiation of the pelvis some female patients can get what is called stenosis, or a stricturing of the vagina, making it so narrow even a pelvic exam is unbearable. If I weren't bawling while he said it, I would have answered when he asked "So, I guess you aren't sexually active?" Then, while my hands were over my mouth to keep me from screaming, and the resident was offering me her free hands for me to grab onto, he said one of the funniest sentences I have ever heard uttered in a doctor's office, "You need to put something in your vagina at least once to three times a week." If my cries weren't being swallowed, you can bet I would have answered with something fantastic. Hmmmm, something in your vagina? Random things? Toblerones? Cowboys? Multitools? After, when the damned thing was over I was helped up and as I sat there, crying, I felt so terrible for making my doctor feel so terrible. He didn't mean to hurt me, yet I couldn't stop crying. I was so embarrassed. He hugged me. Twice. He felt so bad, for causing me such pain. He prescribed vaginal dilators. This pretty pink bag with a whole range of somethings to put in my vagina once to three times a week. The maker of these dilators is called Owen Mumford, and as I sat with my Mom in the waiting room for my next ct-scan appointment to be made, I said to my Mom "hey, a Mumford for my Muff." I went straight from wanting to lie down on the ground and never stop crying, to giggling at dirty jokes. With my Ehlers-Danlos, due to all of my joint dislocations and heart valve issues, the joke made early on in my life by my Dr. Grover was that I was the loosest girl in town. As my Mom and I stood outside Huntsman, waiting for the valet to bring the car, I said "I went from the loosest girl in town to the tightest eh?" We both smiled. Then I said, "This gives a whole new meaning to the term tight ass doesn't it?" My Mom, my most wonderful sweet voiced Mom says "Yes, you're a Tight Twat."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tubeless Tuesday

Well, after having a catheter in my hoo-ha for over two and a half weeks, it was removed on Tuesday. I now feel much closer to the human population, for I no longer carry a bucket of my pee with me everywhere. Nor do I have tubes dangling and jangling. Bladder spasms are due to decrease and I am hoping digestion is bound to get better as well, for my intestines have slowed beyond a snails pace since this Uretal Reimplantation surgery. Peanut wouldn't come near me the first day I was home, I smelled strange and he hated the tubes, bag and bucket. He would actually bite, bonk and try to pick up the bucket and move it out of his way. He knew it wasn't supposed to be there and he made sure I knew that he knew. It was wrong, it smelled wrong and he wanted it gone. He never accepted it. Pickle on the other hand went "oh, a bucket, and it is in my way. guess I'll jump over it." I still have a stent in that goes from my kidney to my bladder and that will come out on the 29th. This last surgery was done with a super duper robot so my recovery has been a lot quicker. I have 5 small scars instead of a wound that goes from one hip to the other hip. I also don't have to go through chemo and radiation while trying to heal. I would like to hope that things might be getting better, but then I don't dare yet. So I'll just wait. So, when better comes along, maybe it will be a surprise. My Aunt Linda said that I was bound for some good luck, having used up all of my bad luck. Does bad luck run out? Or is there a bottomless supply, like stupidity on reality TV?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Sunrise

I was getting things ready for my surgery, tidying and cleaning bunny cages, which meant there was garbage to be taken outside. When I went out, there was a tiny bird on the back stairs of my apartment. I have never seen a bird there, so when I came upon him I was at first startled, then so happy. I said "HI!" When I heard myself greeting this bird, I laughed inside because it sounded just the same as when I greet my bunnies every time I come upon them. It could be I come into the room where they are or they come to me, I get so excited to see them I say "Hi sweetboy" or "Who's so cute?" I greeted this wild and tiny bird with such joy and then it flitted away, because it didn't belong. I get so excited for the birdsong to start again every year, I even love when the crows come back and start their early morning caws that cancel out all others. It tells me that Winter is truly over and the Earth is shrugging off that pale dust, looking for the dig to get deeper. Spring and Fall have always been the best times of year, just like sunrise and sunset are the best times of day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

I complain therefore I update

Well, I have been needing to update, but not wanting. Man, it does get a bit old. A bit. I was getting ready to get back to asking questions, making observations, maybe being able to hang out with friends and be a goofball. But nope. I suppose, I just feel like a complainer. The sick and tired of being sick and tired. But, I do complain. I am sick. I am tired. I am grumpy. My family and friends are so lucky, brave and tolerant.

I have another surgery in the very near future. The sixteenth to be exact. The outpatient procedure for the stent went well. Well, if you enjoy the feeling of a 2x4 going from under your ribs to your pelvis, then yeah, well is the word. My ureter is a spaz. It spasms. It is all quite startling, and to be honest, I'm not so quietly freaking out about this surgery. They have to cut above the blocked part of the ureter then take the clear ureter and reattach it to the bladder in a new hole, leaving the old, mushed up blocked section of ureter just there, like a tag on the back of a shirt. A uterus, you don't really use it all of the time. Its like a candy dish on the table, fill it or it collects dust. But a ureter, that sucker is the kitchen sink and if it isn't working you get in a plumber. My plumber is going to be using an 8 million dollar robot at The Huntsman Cancer Institute for my surgery since they can't go through my scar tissue and scar tissue is the reason this has happened. When they did the original surgery (the hysterectomy and lymph node removal) they had to scrape the ureters and with my Ehlers-Danlos I don't heal well, and produce more scar tissue. So, now to get to the ureter they have to go in higher. Robotic ureter surgery. The week of my birthday. I go in on monday and my birthday is on saturday. I know I shouldn't be bummed, but I was really looking forward to going out and celebrating with my family now that Todd is back from Korea. I try to put it all in perspective. No new cancer. So good. I have family and friends. So good. I have bunnies. So good.

I had to run errands, so I was in line in the bank when I noticed a man two spots in front of me. He had one deformed arm, one deformed leg and was using a crutch to get from place to place. I was in a lot of pain, refusing to use pain medication (I do that, a lot) and trying my best to hide it. When I saw this man, I immediately felt guilty, for all my whining, grumpiness, displeasure or any lack of gratefulness in the past week. I tried to stand up straighter, hold my head higher and told myself that pain wasn't a part of me, and even if it was, it didn't matter. When I reached the teller, she didn't say hello, or even hi. She looked me straight in the face and said "You're in pain." I just stammered, "well, yeah, but...I mean, I was trying...I should do better. You're good at this." As Chris will tell you, I do this every time I leave the house, I collected a person. We talked. She had lost her mother to cancer just a year ago, she was so kind and sweet, and my embarrassment from showing my pain went away. I try to smile at everyone I meet. I try to show them the love I have for being alive. The love I have for knowing what I know, for feeling what I feel. I get so sad when the pain I have gets in the way of it, hides it. I long for the days when these blogs change to esoteric and goofball posts, not full of bellyaching (some literally.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

What a Good Earth

“Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted” Chinese proverb.

Fitting tastes to hold in my mouth with the news of my latest PETscan. Had the scan on the 14th, on the 21st talked to my Radiation Oncologist ... no new cancer. BUT. Yup, the sour and bitter with the sweet. My kidney is enlarged and the ureter is partially blocked, he wants me in with a Urologist ASAP. He meant it. Saw the urologist the next afternoon, he brought in a surgeon and I am going in on Monday for an outpatient procedure to have a stent put in. Then, we will see how it goes and if a further surgery is needed. I have been telling every doctor since my hysterectomy that I am having trouble urinating, it just isn't right. I am not healing well, I don't feel right. I tell every one that has ears that hear. This is since November. I have had three major UTIs, even stayed in the ER overnight with IV antibiotics one was so bad, but it was all jumbled up with chemo, radiation and recovery from surgery. Well, looks like this is a problem from the surgery. Either scar tissue or a misplaced stitch. I have been in so much pain, from just eating and drinking, anything since surgery, I just thought that was how it was going to be. So, checking for cancer found something else to fix. I heard stories like this in the waiting rooms at Huntsman. How cancer actually saved lives. Finding an aneurism that would have killed a woman within weeks while they scanned for tumors, taking one of her kidneys saved her life early so that they could save her life from cancer later.

The same day I got the news, after crying from sadness and frustration from being so ready to be done and feeling better, then to being mad... just mad that I had been telling Doctors for months that something was wrong, and no one could hear me over all of the cancer noise, I decided to not go home, I went grocery shopping. I went to one of my most favorite stores, Good Earth. If you know me, you know why. It is a hippie dippie store. All health food, all yummy and no bunnies were harmed in the making of any cleaning or make-up products sold there. I was distracted by the day, distracted by just going out shopping at all. I haven't done a full on shop for quite a while. When I finally (and I mean finally) got to the check-out, I was $5 short. I hadn't counted correctly (so, SO not like me) and I was mortified. I put my head in my hands, doing my best not to bawl, then immediately asked if I could put back something. I grabbed the first thing out of the top of the bag, my Yerba Matte tea, expensive and should take care of the balance. He looked and looked for it on the register, hesitated, thought about calling a manager, then pulled out a twenty from his pocket and paid the extra five himself. I hung my head and just started to cry. I gave him the tea and asked him to take it, he said he didn't want it and handed it to me and told me to have a good day. I couldn't breath anymore. I walked out of the store with my cart, sat down in my car with my groceries and cried, like I am now. After a while, I felt able to write a note of thanks that I took in with the cart. He just told me to have a good day, most likely as embarrassed by thanks as I am by kindness.

My Mom says I have to learn to be humble. Yet, an aspect of humility is an understanding of ones inferiority, and at that particular moment, boy howdy did I feel inferior. I admit, I feel more comfortable giving kindness than receiving it. Always have. If I had the five dollars I would have given it, gladly.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Recovered Time

It has been one month to the day since my last treatment. I am in, what I am told is, recovery mode. I really do not know what that means. To me. I know what that means to my Radiation Oncologist, my Medical Oncologist, my General Practitioner, or even the ER docs... but to me, it is a mysterious phase of existence. It means waiting. I wanted to feel so much better, just because it was done. HA! ( silly, silly girl ) Ooooh, my white count is still so low I can't be around groups of people, my hemoglobin has even gone back down since the transfusion and they don't know why, I was allergic to myself; itching hands and feet every time I had a bowel movement, projectile vomiting - sometimes while in a motor vehicle. Blah blah blah, whine whine whine. I started out not being able to stop pooping to now not being able to poop. (It is all about the poop folks.) Since the surgery in November I have lost over 20 pounds. I would like to say I have been the paragon of a health conscience person and exercised while eating my vegan diet to achieve such results. No. I have pooped, puked and starved through radiation and chemo for those pounds to disappear. Cancer: The Diet. I don't recommend it.

Strangely, I am not mad, too sad or overwhelmingly grumpy. My bunnies are so glad to have me back home every day, their acting out has diminished. Pickle will be one year old this month. Having found him like a lost babe in the woods, I do not know his real birthday, so I am assigning him a date. Valentine's Day. I have never liked the day, actually hating it so much during High School, when all my friends would receive cards, gifts and candy, I passionately called it "Happy Fucking Valentines Day." Now, I will have a reason. My Velveteen Valentine.

I have a lot of things yet to say, yet to share. I have been busy, figuring out how to recover. I imagine recovery takes time. Recovery may also, if done right, give you time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Growing Older

Soooo, big fat fail on my last day of chemo being a no biggie. Just thought I could swoop on in there and get in over like it never really mattered to start. Stupid, stupid girl. Here's a catchup, I failed my chemo two weeks ago.... at least that is how I term it. Every week is a test of my endurance, and this particular week, I failed it. My platelets were too low to get my chemo for the week so I was sent away. I had been feeling so terrible that I secretly wondered how they could safely give chemo to me, so I knew before I knew. With a week off, my platelets rebounded, my hemoglobin did not, which has been sinking a point nearly every week. So, by this week I knew I would be at transfusion level, which is where I didn't want to be through this whole endeavor. But, there I was on my supposed last day, where all the nurses are to come and gather round, singing in congratulation style for you. But not this day, I got extra this, and that, more pills and pokes (the original IV didn't take so they had to go for the other arm which they had been avoiding due to phlebitis and it took the dear sweet nurse three attempts, they bring her out for the shitty sticks which everyone agrees I am.) Then, the sick comes. The overwhelming sickness of all the poison inside me. My nurse tells me I look green, puts an ativan under my tongue and we wait. She says sweetly after a while "Its not easy being green, is it?" No, it isn't. This is about five hours in and still no transfusion, but we only have time to hang one bag of blood tonight, so they want me back tomorrow after my last radiation and to prevent the horror of the poke-fest I am to keep the IV in during the night.

Not every second of the day was a wrenching sob or a wince filled face. In fact, aside from all the super-sonic crap I spent most of the day hanging, talking learning and crying with my new chemo buddy Sam. He is only 24, and every time I see his face I feel like crying for the mere chance that any of his possibility could be stolen. We spent our time together, in that place and shared our history, or pain and the smiles that come from sharing. When the chemo gets so strong and the sicko of it is just to much, we were in our separate pods, doing what humans getting chemo do. Groan, cry, try not to puke, wish they could puke, talk to forget, forget what they were saying.

Not my last day of chemo. Not my last day.

The Bun

The Bun
If you don't like rabbits, you can suck it, shove it and then go soak your head.