But it is a little bit funny.

rock and roll chicks

rock and roll chicks
this is me with spiked hair. It's growing in. Not the greatest picture of me, good one of Cindy but this blog is not all about her!

Monday, April 26, 2010

the boob

Since I know for sure that at least 2 people read my blog, I feel a duty to my readers to warn them that the following post may include some medical information that is at worst gross and at best boring. I try to avoid all medical facts, and as a matter of fact (no pun intended) any facts at all in this very serious blog about cancer. But it is necessary for the background.

First I had surgery and 2 new reconstructed boobs, like a stripper, because there was a 99.9% chance that they got all the cancer. Although I know for sure that I would never win a good lottery with 1000 to one odds, sure enough, I did win the bad one and discovered that they did not get al the cancer and that I needed chemo while one boob was healing from surgery. Frequently when that happens, the boob can become infected and the implant has to be removed and that did happen to me so I now temporarily in the boob department look like a sideways P. Flat on one side and a perfect C cup on the other. The upside to this is that when I am done with all the chemo and radiation, I get to have my boob replaced with fat from my stomach. I have been advised to eat donuts daily to maintain this fat. (All right, i advised myself, but I am a medical professional.) Maybe I will be like that person who gets plastic surgery all the time and will have my own following in people magazine. Or not. More likely the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

So in the meantime before my boob surgery, I get to have a fake boob. Well, the medical name is a prosthetic boob. It is a pink boob-shaped thing of the consistency of a jelly-fish and fits into special bras with pockets, or if you are clever like me, you can pretty much stick it into any bra or bathing suit. And yes, my insurance pays for it. So, you look like a normal big- breasted woman to anyone who does not see you naked. Luckily for me 85% of the male population of my state and a small percentage of guys worldwide have already seen me naked, when I had both boobs, so i can put most of them off for a while.

The thing about the boob is that it is relatively small in the scheme of things. And since it gets transferred from bra to bra fairly often, it is sometimes misplaced. OK, people lose their glasses andkeys all the time at my age and I cannot stress enough the fact that chemo makes you even spacier. So I bet I am not the only person in the world who misplaces her boob. It is not such a big deal in terms of having to have it to stuff in the bra. being clever and creative, I have discovered many items that can be stuffed in a bra to look like a boob. You don't want to know. The embarassing thing is when you have people over to dinner and the boob shows up on the kitchen table or the bathroom vanity or something.

So here is a really good idea for you potential inventors out there. I don't even want a commission. Someone should invent some sort of small alarm that you could set off in order to find your lost boob. It should be discrete, because could you imagine setting it off when the boob is on you and suddenly you start chiming like a church bell clock? But maybe a little hum, or a quietly flashing dim light to announce the presence of the lost boob when a certain button is pushed.

So, think about it. Right now, I have to go try to find my boob which I think is in the living room somewhere. Hopefully I will locate it before the realtor shows the house tomorrow. ("Does this prosthetic breast come with the house?) Well if I remember property law, no it does not unless is is somehow attached to the house which I pray it is not.
OK, here is a totally random thought. This probably happens to most people who get diagnosed with some life-threatening disease, no matter how curable it is. Well whatever, it happened to me. I started to think of all the things I wanted to do in my life before i died. Surprisingly there weren't a whole lot because so far I've had a really good life. But one of the top things on my list was to get a tatoo. Tattoo? Chemotherapy makes you not know how to spell. So anyway, since I am going to have to go underground to use false eyelashes, it is highly unlikely that it will be OK to get a tattoo while on chemotherapy. This is really too bad, because I had a great idea about a tattoo. I would get one on my head. it would be a tattoo of hair.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


First, i am so excited to have a follower on my blog. I think I know who it is, and it is someone who I would tell all the stuff i write on my blog and then some, but if i have a follower, it is sort of like i am the next Ernest hemingway. Or maybe Hunter s. Thompson, if he did not write any of the serious stuff. And if he was a girl. With breast cancer.Now secondly, I forgot to write this on the blog about my kids. Maybe there is a way to edit that post, but i am sort of flying by the seat of my pants here. is that an expression or is this chemo brain again. I noticed that I did click on something to have commercials on my blog. I suppose if I were a true artist I would be appalled by this but I think it causes me to make money when I have more than one follower, which sort of makes me like a best selling new york times author. Which is really my goal. Not specifically, but in general- doing something that is really fun and slightly anti-social and profiting monetarially from it. Because, unfortunately, I am apparently too old to be a hooker again. I mean for the first time ever. I have a doctorate degree.

So what I wanted to add to the blog about the kids. My whole cancer-relationship with them can sort of be summed up in the profile picture I posted. (Alliteration for you girls latin girls and NYU English majors on my facebook friend list. And don't you have something better to do than read my blog? Very sad.) For Christmas, after getting diagnosed, I ordered Meghan and Laura t-shirts from a Sublime cover band that say "I don't get angry when my mom smokes pot...." And I forced them to put them on and pose for a picture with me, which I would then post on facebook. At the time they were sufficiently sympathetic to my cancer-ridden state that they did agree to do that. However, that was before I was the high tech wonder I am today and needed Meghan's help to actually post the picture, so she PHOTO_SHOPPED IT AND BLANKED OUT THEIR FACES. Well, kids, you are outed now. Of course now that I think of it, they probably would get angry when their mom smokes pot. Or at least annoyed when their mom makes pot brownies. Or maybe when she posts it on the internet.

And the other thing i was going to put on the last blog about my kids was about when i quietly might talk about funny looking people at the oncologist's. First of all they should be glad they don't go to the Plastic Surgeon (Barbie's) office. Much more interesting group of people. Anyway, i was going to say that I might talk quietly and discretely about other people, but I blanked on the word discreet. Couldn't remember it to save my life. Granted there is that whole older-brain-menopausal-add person on chemo thing going on and sometimes i can't remember the exact word I am trying to think of. But I think Freud would have something to say about my choosing to forget the word discrete. Or discreet. However you spell it. Like i forgot the word and then i forgot how to be it.

I am going to surf the web now and try to find even more embarrassing t shirts for both my kids and yet-to-be-conceived grandchilddren. Love you, girls.

family members support groups

The other day a friend of mine who just had a baby was saying how tired she was because her baby kept her up all night. I should have said, just grow up and become me- you will be able to torture her way more than she ever tortured you. I suppose there must have been times during the infancy and childhood of my kids when they bothered me, got me scared, upset, sleepless, angry, or sad, but I really only remember the funny stuff like Laura having just been to the nude beach at Martha's Vineyard, decided that naked was the prpoer way to sun bathe and the "lifeguard" (I use that in quotations because I am sure he was just some selectman's kid, not a real lifeguard like I was when i was 18 although I had to have someone else take the eye test for me. What? It was a pool. No one drowned. But i digress. It is the chemo.)anyway so the lifeguard yelled at us that she had to wear clothes. She was 16. Just kidding. (Forgot that I sent link to blog to Laura) She was a baby. And meghan once wrote a story about me that started, "My mom is a small mom. But she is a grown-up." I tell that story all the time because it proves that my kids have at one time believed that I am a grown up.

I got all the free booklets about family members of people diagnosed with cancer because of course I wanted to do the right thing with them. Cancer doesn't just effect the person with it. It effects their family, friends, generally the police and fire department, the waiters at the local restaurants, the cashiers at Target and of course the guy sitting next to you at Fenway Park. I briefly though some sort of a support group for family members with cancer might be good- they could be with people going through the same thing. Like, my mother got breast implants and shows them to total strangers (I still show the good one to anyone who asks.) My mother does not obey any traffic laws (or "suggestions," as i call them) because she thinks that if she gets pulled over the cops will let her go because she has cancer. (They will) My mother made me promise to find out how to make pot brownies and then texted me step by step how to do it when she conned another relative into teaching her. I'm thinking that these topics don't come up too often at support groups. And if my kids raised them, they might get thrown out.

It's not that I am intentionally trying to torture my children. I was saving that for my 80's and 90's when my mind goes and they will probably have the financial means to put me up in style. It is just unfortunate that I have raised them so well. Too well, maybe. They are both smart, responsible and serious about important things. Laura would still spend her rent money on a good pair of shoes (I taught her that) but she is in college still. She may grow out of that. Unfortunate, as we are almost the same shoe size. Oh maybe some of their good qualities come from having been raised also by their father who is no longer my husband but who remains VERY serious about almost everything. So as children of divorce, they needed balance. He was serious. I was me. he paid bills. i took them to Disneyworld. A lot.

They are great about the cancer thing, really. Meghan takes me to all my chemo appointments and remembers everything my doctors say. So I cannot say, "didn't my doctors mention that I should try cocaine?" in front of her because she will not back me up. And Laura, away at NYU, calls all the time,never borrowsmoney any more and makes me come to new York and forget I have cancer. But i was sort of hoping that they might accept the "I have cancer" excuse for some of my annoying behavior. Not only do they not, the last time I used the excuse, one of them said, "You probably don't even have cancer anymore. You only had a little, and you've had surgery and all this chemo that killed your hair. It must have killed your cancer, too." I guess a possibility, they don't measure how much cancer you have while you were on chemo. So I am now only able to say you should do this or that because I am on chemo and certainly had cancer at one point, maybe even still do.

I get chemo at a big Boston hospital. There are a lot of funny looking people there. I am one of them. I understand people may like to talk very quietly to their companions about funny looking people. Not making fun of them, just trying to figure out how they got that way. I don't have a problem if they talk about me. However, my kids seem to have some issue with my quietly mentioning anyone's oddness. Now they strike pre-emptively. We walk into a room, they scan it for anyone I may think about discussing, and if they find one, they look at me and say "No." In fact, sometimes they find people I wouldn't have even noticed at all. I think that makes them worse. They won't even play the "Is that a wig or just really bad hair?" game in the chemo waiting room, or help me give silent awards for the worst cancer fashion. And let me tell you there is some really bad fashion out there. Just because you have a life threatening disease doesn't mean you should take all your 60's hippie clothes out of mothballs and flaunt them in front of the rest of us. It is depressing. That is why they have cancer shrinks.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am never going to remember what button i pushed to do the hindu stuff.

बरास्त कैंसर chicken

Oh, I think I accidentally translated my blog into hindu. See the title. Maybe it only translates the title. I was just going to write about how Kentucky Fried Chicken now has pink buckets of chicken that you can buy to help donate to breast cancer. I can't decide whether or not I am appalled. Oh, wait a minute, I am not. Any sort of publicity is good i guess, and I have never had a disease that had its own Kentucky fried chicken buckets. I may have to be appalled if they make those sandwiches with chicken instead of bread for breast cancer. It's a good thing I am not appalled because the hindu writing takes away from the appalled-ness. However, i would prefer if fancier restaurants endorsed breast cancer and also gave me free meals. Like that sushi restaurant in new York City that Laura's old boyfriend's mother took us to for an $800.00 dinner. Admittedly, most of that was the bar bill for me and the other mother. Way to impress your kids. Of course, it was probably the cancer about to manifest itself in me- well, ok, it was a year before I got cancer, but there is absolutely no medical evidence out there to refute that breast cancer getting ready to come in one year can cause embarrassing drunkenness and alleged (but also unproven) flashing in otherwise normal middle aged women. Well, not really normal. And luckily, as far as I know the other mother has not come down with cancer and therefore did not have such an excuse. Of course, as i recall, she was from Texas, which is a pretty good excuse for anything if you ask me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

eye lashes

Just a short note today. i was thrilled (as thrilled as one can be about a side-effect of cancer treatment) that although the chemo made me bald, it also got rid of the hair on my legs, underarms and kablasis (probably the wrong word, i picked it up from a Chelsea Handler book and it should mean vagina and the area that surrounds it that usually has hair unless you pay a lot for a painful brazilian wax, or get the right kind of chemo.) But now i noticed that my eyelashes are falling out. Not good. Eyebrows, i don't pay much attention to, they have always been light and mainly I just used them to point out that I must be a real blonde. So I guess they are falling out, too, but i don't care. Eyelashes, now that is a problem. When i started to go around bald, i made sure i had good make-up and earring on, so as not to be confused for a man or a lesbian biker chick. Not that I have anything against lesbian biker chicks,but if people start thinking that i am a lesbian, I have even less of a chance of getting laid (by a man,anyway, which is unfortunately what I'm wired for.) Wait until i write my chapter on having sex with one boob and you will see what I mean. It is a very short chapter.

So, i signed up for a class that gives free make-up and beauty tips to cancer patients. I signed up at the hospital i go to for treatment in Boston, rather than a local place, because I figured they would bet better makeup. In my conversation with the women who run the"cancer boutique" where it will be held- I always stop in to talk to them. I am so glad that there are some people who realize what is really important in the scheme of things when you have cancer. Getting better? Being healthy? Yeah, i suppose that is fairly important, but LOOKING PRETTY definitely more so. These people do the whole wig, scarf, and make-up thing. They will enter heaven before those boring researchers sitting in front of microscopes finding boring cures for boring things. So anyway, while talking to these angels of mercy make-up artists, I asked about false eye lashes. I had heard from other vain friends who don't even have cancer that these accessories had come a long way since the 1980's which was probably the last time i had considered false eyelashes. You know, they are always putting them on people having makeovers on what not to wear- a show my children petitioned endlessly for me to get on but to no avail I guess because I am secretly fashionable, but that, too, is another story- so you'd think they are pretty main stream.

AHA! NO! My cancer beauty experts said they do not do false eye lashes in the class because of the possibility of infections! Infections? In people undergoing chemotherapy? What a strange idea. Well, i take this very painful shot after chemo to boost my blood counts so I do not get infections. Does this matter to the false eyelash nazis? Apparently not. i did wear one down who said maybe for a special occasion, i could do the false eyelash thing. I am not going to tell her that my "special occasion" is my constant state of extreme vanity. They claim that they will show me how to apply eye liner so that it looks like i have eyelashes. I have been learning to put on eye liner, or trying to, anyway, for decades. I am only at the point where i can apply it to my lower lids. My 20 year old daughter, on the other hand, was born knowing how to apply liquid eye liner in a moving car, hopefully not while driving.

I think it is geographical racism. I will bet you anything that cancer patients in new jersey get to use false eye lashes in their beauty classes. And i am sure they get much bigger wigs, which i am not going to complain about because i do not need big hair. But i guess they expect people in Boston to need infection-free eyes to read books and write their doctoral dissertations rather than have a nice base on which to apply mascara. Hey, i am not about to start a doctoral degree in anything else at this point.

Obviously, I need to start an underground network of make-up artists who will disobey the silly infection-related rules about eye lashes and start importing people from the Jersey Shore. Hey wait a minute. When whatever her name was in Sex in the City had cancer and chemo, she was not eye lash challenged. Another alley to explore. Oh, wait a minute, that might not have been real.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Medical marijuana

I just came back from California. No, i did not ask my oncologist if i could travel because she is not the boss of me. Besides it was mellower and more relaxing than staying at home and potentially exposing myself to whatever germs were lurking in my recently flooded basement. Well, I got all the water out before I left but there is a lingering suspicious smell, or there was until i went out and bought 4 ans of lysol spray and emptied them. But that is another (less interesting) story.

So my people got medical marijuana cards, the idea being that teenagers and 20-somethings are going to smoke weed anyway so if they have the cards is is not illegal. I like this idea. I have never been a particularly big fan of weed- it used to make me paranoid when I smoked it at the appropriate pot-smoking age. I would occasionally take a hit or two at parties to prove that I was not the old lady I suppose I really am, but am in denial about. But, having cancer, i think I need to embrace this medical marijuana stuff. There is a lot of research that it helps nausea, decreased appetitite and pain, none of which i currently suffer from, but that is no reason not to use the cancer card to abuse illegal drugs legally. Well, it would be totally legal if I got a medical marijuana card, which i would qualify for if I could prove I was a resident of California. This turned out to be a little more difficult to do that expected. Might have had something to do with the fact that I am not a resident of California, I don't really know. I do feel like a southern californian at heart. So since it was practically legal to smoke in California and it is decriminalized to have under an ounce in my other home state, Massachusetts (we were the first to have gay marriage, too. Except for the shitty weather most of the time, not a bad state,) I embarked upon my use of medical marijuana.

My concern was that the one side effect of chemo that I sometimes DO have (although not currently) is mouth sores and mouth pain. Gross, i know. So I didn't think smoking would be good in that situation so I decided to explore the world of edibles. I forced a young friend of a friend to show me how to make pot brownies, something I never got right in my younger days, but I have it now. The trick is to separate something from something, i don't know the technical terms but you don't want to cook with the parts of the plant that are really good to smoke- the buds I think. So you get this other stuff- not seeds or stems, though, so I guess scrunched up leaves? I am a little vague about this, but I remember the rest. You do not throw this stuff into a brownie mix. You have to cook it in butter. Because, thc is fat-soluable. I love saying this because it sounds like I am smart when actually talking about cooking marijuana brownies- or any other kind of food that uses butter. I think it might be good on garlic bread. So you cook it for a while and then strain out whatever the main thing is and you end up with green pot-smelling butter which you can substitute for regular butter in any recipe you want. We did brownies.

Of course I am not good on measurements and neither was my cooking teacher. Apparently we melted down enough weed to get a small city totally wasted in the one pan of brownies. Not knowing this, I ingested a moderately sized brownie. After eating dinner. So it didn't work right away, having to go through my whole digestive tract and all. So I went to sleep. Then woke up an hour later to monkeys flying around my room. Singing. And plotting to kill me, i think. Plus it was imperative that I eat all the ice cream in the house immediately. The ice cream helped but it took hours to talk myself down and for the monkeys to quiet down and eventually go elsewhere. Upon processing the whole incident the following day, I decided two things: the next time, i would eat only one bite of the brownie- worked great and much less wasteful, and secondly, there is an additional benefit of medical marijuana for cancer patients if they happen to over-indulge accidentally like I did. I spent hours worrying about the flying monkeys- not once did I even think about having cancer. A good diversion. Additionally, after I was a little less high, I thought, well I do have cancer, but at least I don't have flying monkeys trying to kill me anymore. Perspective. Very important. So this is why I am going to fully support all efforts to get marijuana legalized for medical reasons. I mean, if a state run by Arnold fucking Schartzenator, or whatever his name is, can do it, why not my super liberal gay marriage endosing state? And maybe those square middle states. it has to be more enjoyable living there with a little bit of a buzz on. And what about Alaska?

Actually I think they should legalize pot everywhere except hawaii because it is too much fun to live there as it is.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

breast cancer babble

Ok, i am middle aged and have never done a blog before but since i love to blab on and on, this should be right up my alley. When i got diagnosed with breast cancer, I started writing little articles with the idea that i would ultimately publish a book and turn the whole breast cancer experience into a positive one. Oh, and if I published a book, someone else would check the spelling and punctuation which i sort of suck at and apologise for in the blog.

I like it when people come up and tell me how brave i am for going through this. Frankly, I enjoy any and all compliments I get. Even insincere ones. Especially insincere ones. And I have met tons of people with cancer who are incredibly brave. But really, do we have a choice? If when I got diagnosed they said, "Well you can be brave and have a hard time, or there is a way to be chicken-shit about cancer and it will be easier..." I totally would have chosen the chicken-shit route. But there is no such option. And, no i am not particularly brave. I make jokes because that is how I deal with bad stuff. My heritage, i guess. Go to an Irish wake and it sounds like open mike night at the Comedy Connection. But i spend my fair share of time feeling sorry for myself- not so much about having cancer, which is a pretty curable thing at my stage, but about the practical aspects of it. The treatments that are a huge inconvenience and pain in the ass, the tiny amount of money i get paid when I am using my sick time. Really, there is nothing worse than having a lot of time off from work but really no money to speak of so that you can enjoy it. Even if i did have money, these oncologists are pretty hard ass when you mention that perhaps you might want to take a little trip. An airplane? On chemo? If they only knew I had been planning to tke the airplane to some third world country probably rampant with diseases that i am sure i would not get because, come on, i already have fucking cancer! Can you say fuck on a blog? (I think I mentioned i am old.)

So i have been trying to focus on the positive aspects. And there are some. Not enough that I recommend going out and trying to get cancer, because is is still better to not have it, than to have it with the perks. Double meaning there, they do you give you percs, the pills but i meant perks, the added bonuses. Breast cancer is very politically correct. Go grocery shopping (well if you have to, having cancer, i try to make other people do this for me, as I hate grocery shopping, and it is not good for my particular disease. Shoe shopping, on the other hand, is very good. But i digress.) and look at all the products with a little pink ribbon on them saying they support breast cancer. Toilet paper, frozen vegetables, cat food- my daughter said she saw a breast cancer beer but i couldn't fink it but if i did i would drink it all the time. If my oncologist said i could drink beer. Well, if i remembered to ask her. So there are walks and fund raisers, etc. which i think must mean i have a better illness than other people. You think there's an official potato chip for migraine headaches? I think not.

My best benefit of cancer will be that when all this is over, i will have big boobs. Well for me. i was always a bit on the under-endowed side, except when breast-feeding my kids, which was supposed to make you less at risk for breast cancer but go figure. Having to have a large amount of breast tissue removed, I get to have plastic surgery to make them bigger. many times in my life i had considered getting a boob job but insurance doesn't pay, and i always had to spend my money on other things like mortgages, food, kids and of course shoes. But get breast cancer, get a free boob job. just like that.

And there is free make-up and beauty tips for people going through treatment. Wigs covered by your insurance. I have had blonde, red and pink hair (My lady gaga look. Wore it to work on the weekend when there were no bosses. My psych patients loved it.) Plus there is the bald look which i reserve for doing things like going to the DMV to renew my registration- get right to the front of the line, you poor cancer-ridden person.

Cancer- also a good excuse to not do things you don't want to do anyway. Nobody will question you if you can't come to a boring cocktail party if you have cancer. Of course, i have noticed my friends using this, too. Cancer by osmosis, i guess. They are cancelling out of boring things because I have cancer. And my friend Cindy is not above working the cancer thing into a conversation with waiters and getting free appetizers. Another friend tried to use it to get me a free sticker for the dump. (Beverly, i have cancer. That does not mean i cannot afford $30.00 to dump my leaves and Christmas tree- in march)

I am a psych nurse. i know about denial. Until now, i didn't realize that it could be a good thing. I am sure that there will be times when I actually remember I have cancer and my life has changed forever. Luckily, the chemo i am on really enhances my baseline attention deficit disorder- oh look a pony!

steven tyler in a red sox shirt!!!

steven tyler in a red sox shirt!!!
not bad for an old guy