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!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why am I awake at 2 AM??????????????

I love the people I work with. Tonight my friend Colleen, who I have not hung around with since forever, was working a moonlighting job on the same campus I work at and we had a great dinner together. I need to remember that if I want a shift to go by fast, just take a long break in the middle.

Then we went out after work where I altered my cancer diet slightly to have a chocolate volcano, which was mostly healthy cancer fighting food except for a few things. And I talked all my young co-workers into having babies without husbands because hey it worked for me.

So back to WHY I DO NOT HANG AROUND WITH PEOPLE MY OWN AGE (except for a few people, who live in California, you know who you are.)

1. They have those plastic cases of pills and when to take them.
2. They talk about their grandchildren in that old-grandparent way. I have nothing against being a grandparent, in fact I text meghan daily saying this might be a good day to get knocked up, but I plan on being the cool kind of grand parent like that woman in the Jennifer Anniston movie who had slept with Kevin Costner.
3. They say things like "any day you're alive is a good day." Well, sorry, WRONG! If you drive all the way to the Cape, and it rains, it is not a good day. Whether or not you're alive.
4. They get more politically conservative. That's fine, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I just don't want to hear about it.
5. They think women have to be protected from certain things.
6. They go out to dinner too early.
7. They go to bed too early.
8. They insist on driving, even though they drive like psychopaths and their cars smell funny.
9. Sorry, I have no interest in hearing about your ex-wife (wives.) I can kind of figure out why it didn't last.
10. Older guys, not too sexy, viagra or not. Women improve with age, men not so much.

Aside from chocolate volcanoes, I have been following my complementary and alternative cancer-killing regime pretty well. I actually meditate (with varying degrees of success,) and get massages both at radiation and at my massage place. Also i bought some kind of book about something related to all of this and when I find it I will read it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

techs, not texts

see last blog.

Glowing praise

I think I will put a cancer joke on every blog from now on. They are someone elses,not mine. Though I am pleasantly surprise I am not the only one who sees cancer as funny. here is Joke:1

It has been reported that the breast cancer rate would be cut in half if women would eat a low-fat diet. Now, if a woman has already lost half her breasts, can she go back to square one and eat a high-fat diet?

I am saving the raunchy ones for later.

I am very very relaxed after getting probably the best massage ever. Women with breast cancer who get massages get healthier faster than those who don't. Sounds right.

The other day my friend Denise gave me a present which was a shirt-type garment of very soft cotton and velcro straps, meant to replace the old-school boring ugly johnny that you always have to wear in the hospital. Or radiation. It is called a Jilli. I wore it to rad. the other day and the staff absolutely loved it. I gave them whatever info I had on it. Today i walked in to the waiting room and they had photo-copied my info and set out brochures about the Jilli in the waiting room! One of the texts saw me in my Jilli and asked, "Have you always been so fashionable and artsy?" Yes, I have, I replied. That's me, fashionable and artsy. I am kind of a fashion trend setter in the radiation therapy world. I really impress myself sometime. If anyone wantsmy autograph, just email me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

i am so tired. This will be a short one. I have been "binge working." A trick of nurses, especially those of us who are not on the books for 40 hours. Work a shitload of days in a row and then you can get a bunch off. That is how those of us with minimal sick and vacation time get vacations. Course, with radiation every weekday, my time away from home was limited to the weekend. We went to a beautiful beach in Yarmouth, staying with friends of Cindys. Well now we are all friends of each other. This was one of the very few times I have hung out with men who are the category of: OLDER THAN ME. How could they not be dead of old age, you ask? Honestly, I don't know. I made a few observations about the weekend and they fit under the category: Reasons why I hate to hang around with people my own age. However, I am too tired to write all that stuff, so you will have to wait. Sorry. You know how I hate to disappoint my thousands of followers. I will write it tomorrow. And I must say that if any of my many followers happens to be a guy that is older than me, you know who you are and you are an exception. As you have the same level of immaturity as me, when I am with you I do not feel like I am with a guy older than me. In fact, I think we are both thirty and have the scars to prove it. But most of the OLDER THAN ME guys would not know how to find a blog anyway,and probably even if they did they would not know what to do with it. I just happen to be one of those older, state of the art women who have their fingers on the pulse of the next big thing.

Yeah right. I am going to try to cut and paste the email from my nurse practitioner that we just did today. It is a great indicator of how bad communication can really fuck you up. That is something that is hard for me. I am a nurse, and granted the the vast majority of my nursing has been on a psych unit, I am not without a basic understanding of medical illnesses. I have certainly worked with oncology patients both on a psych unit and a medical one. So how do i go for weeks believing something that was not true about my body- my life! I am walking around believing that I had chemo-resistant cancer in my lymph nodes. And it took me weeks to even frame the question to ask to straighten this out somewhat. Not completely, but when I go see the nurse practitioner next week, I will look at everything from the lab about my lymph nodes. Can't believe I just sat back and let the doctor be in charge and just accepted what he said without yelling, "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!!!" On a side note, I read an article in the Boston Globe on Sunday (the old guys bought it.) about how psychologists can glean information about the personality of a person by their blogs. It definitely said something about people who swear a lot but I forgot what it was. Something about being the best and most loved members of society? Yeah, I think that was it. Well it was a stupid article and I did notice that the newspaper was considerably thinner than the Boston Globes of my youth, before everything went on line. So they were just jealous of us successful professional bloggers (I earned $1.40 last month from the ads on my blog,) taking away all their readership. Too bad, though because there are some good points about a Sunday newspaper. You can bring it to the beach and not worry about it exploding from the heat or getting destroyed with sand, as you would a computer.

So anyway, without further ado, my email:

LN's = lymph nodes, Dr. E medical oncologist, Dr. B. radiation oncologist, who I like better,

Of course it is backwards, so you have to read it from the bottom up. The names have been changed just in case.

See you next week

MGH Cancer Center
Gillette Center-Breast Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114-2617

From: Oleary, Barbara A.,R.N.
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:01 PM
To: S, Mary Elizabeth
Subject: RE: A question

It definitely helped. I appreciate it. Sometimes it takes me days to come up with an intelligent question that I should have asked at the appointment. Thank you for answering it. See you next week.

From: S, Mary Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:08 PM
To: Oleary, Barbara A.,R.N.
Subject: RE: A question

Did this explanation help or raise more questions.
Hope you are tolerating RT well. Dr. Booboo will take great care of you.

MGH Cancer Center
Gillette Center-Breast Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114-2617

From: Oleary, Barbara A.,R.N.
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:47 AM
To: : A question

Thank you Also the radiation Doc does not want me taking xeloda at least for the moment because they have to radiate the maximum amount of lung tissue allowed because I have a wierd body.

From: S, Mary Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:00 AM
To: Oleary, Barbara A.,R.N.
Subject: RE: A question

Hi Barbara,
I can only imagine how difficult it is to wrap your head around some of this information. I will try to explain the best way I can.

Let me start by saying that your initial staging was based on the initial pathology information available based on tumor size (T1c and sentinel nodes 2 positive nodes) is technically a Stage IIA. The decision to treat with chemotherapy and then perform the axillary dissection where an additional 6 nodes were positive, led to change in staging to Stage IIIA.

To Dr. Eggsalad's point, you are surgically cancer free and the lymph nodes were involved prior to your chemotherapy and it is fair to say that the presence of LNs helps to assess risk of recurrence and influenced Dr. Egghead's decisions about radiation therapy and use of Xeloda. It is somewhat uncertain to know exactly what pre operative chemotherapy effects were, but I suspect, that the chemotherapy had some effect on the LNs based on the path report. You have had now what we would call definitive surgery and will have had the best state of the science treatment. Additionally after RT/Xeloda, adding endocrine ( anti-estrogen therapy) is instrumental in further reducing risk of recurrence.

There is every reason to hope that we can significantly reduce your risk. So in summary, the statement that best reflects your situation is the one you remembered from your conversation with Dr. Eggsflorentine

"No, it's no big deal. You don't have any more cancer in your lymph nodes. We took it out during the surgery. The positive lymph nodes just mean there is a somewhat higher chance of your cancer recurring at some time."

I hope this helps and PLEASE don't hesitate to call me so we can discuss and I can answer any other questions this raises for you.

Take care.

Marybeth S.
Gillette Center-Breast Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114-2617

From: Oleary, Barbara A.,R.N.
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 6:20 AM
To: Sr, Mary Elizabeth
Subject: A question

Hi Mary Beth, I am Dr. Egghead's patient. I met you last week and have an appointment with you on the 4th. I have a question that I wondered if you could answer before then. I have been kind of confused as to what's going on with me exactly. I didn't really have a coherent question to ask Dr. Egghead on my last visit, but i think I have one now. And you can probably explain it better. I speak nurse, I do not speak Oncologist. Here's my question: When I first learned that my lymph node surgery showed that I had 5-6 positive lymph nodes, I thought:

-*Shit! I still have cancer after all that chemo. I must have a chemo-resistant cancer in my lymph nodes.

When I met with Dr. Eggface he said (or at least I heard:)

-*No, it's no big deal. You don't have any more cancer in your lymph nodes. We took it out during the surgery. The positive lymph nodes just mean there is a somewhat higher chance of your cancer recurring at some time.

Still, I thought I had had cancer in the lymph nodes that the chemo did not take care of. Now after looking at some stuff on line about breast cancer, I think:

-* maybe you can have positive lymph nodes without it meaning that there is cancer there that is not responding to the chemo.

So now I am wondering if any of this makes sense to you and if so which, if any, of the 3 statements marked with a -* is correct. It is so hard for me to figure out stuff about this stuff sometimes. It took me this long to even come up with a coherent (hopefully) question to ask. And of course now that I have figured out how to answer the question, I want it answered immediately and cannot wait til the 4th. So, if you could just at least explain the difference between having positive lymph nodes and having active cancer that would be great. And also if you could tell me how I got to be a stage three? I wasn't even sure when I went from a one to a two.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I heard from two separate friends the other day, who both knew exactly what was going on in my life- or at least knew some stuff- and i hadn't talked to them for a long time and I realized it was because they had read my blog. So I think that is good for someone like me because I always think that I have talked to somebody and told them something and I haven't, or I don't say something because I think I have probably said it before and I don't want to be one of those people repeat themselves. Well I am sure I do, having such a big mouth. I just assume everyone knows everything about me. And now they do because I have a blog.

Yesterday was Emily's birthday. She would have been, I think, 23. 23? Wow. Emily is my niece who had leukemia. She is who I think about when people say that people with cancer are brave. She went through so much, pretty much living at Childrens hospital for months at a time, uprooted from San Diego to Boston for her last year of high school, going into remission and then having the cancer return. And she didn't whine or complain. I can remember trying to convince her to use the cancer card for something she wanted-come to think of it, it was probably something I wanted her to want, anyway she wouldn't. She is probably laughing at me- in a good way, I hope, ranting like a maniac about how this pain in the ass but highly cureable breast cancer sucks. Not only do I have a much better kind of cancer than she had- yes, I know that there are good cancers and bad ones- but i also got it after a lot longer life than she had. I got to have kids and go to college multiple times and try out a few different careers and fall in love and fall out of love and fall into what I thought was love but really was just lust- or maybe it was the drugs- whatever, and see Meghan get married in Hawaii and Laura go to school in New York, and move different places. So it's not fair. Obviously, cancer is not fair. As I have said before and will undoubtably say again (because i forgot that I already said it,) if it were fair, only republicans would get it.

And I am mad that I do not have Emily here in person to share my cancer sucks stories with. Really. Even though it has been over four years since she died, I will sometimes think for a minute, oh, I should ask Emily where to get my hair done when it grows back after chemo and then of course remember that I cannot ask her that. Although I do not doubt that she is with me in ways that I will always know.

So happy belated birthday, Emily. You know I am always late.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

health and fitness advice.

As i walked in to the apartment building, two women outside said they liked my hair. Hair, not bald head. People think I intentionally cut my hair extremely short. I am psyched. I no longer look like a cancer patient. However, I will save my hospital bracelet and leave it in the car in case I am ever pulled over by police. And I really like living in an apartment and seeing other people all the time. Especially when they like my hair.

So i am pretty much living at Cindy's although the house is still waiting for the bank to say it's ok to be sold. Also, I still have a bunch of stuff there that I am just too lazy to sort through and move or throw out or give away or whatever.

So I had radiation today and I think it is working. I feel better already. And, in fact, i felt so healthy afterwards, I went to stop and shop and bought healthy food. I even walked through the bakery and only got a loaf of whole grain bread. And i had a brilliant idea of how to stay on this anti-cancer diet. I will have salads for breakfast! See, I am only less than half-awake in the morning so i won't notice so much all the gross healthy shit I am eating. I considered but then decided against having the daily glass of red wine at that time as well. In fact, i am going to buy a book to learn about what kind of red wine is good and so forth so that I will be able to order in a restaurant something other than "the least disgusting red wine you have." And also, I may be able to stop trying to convince myself that Mike's hard cranberry lemonade is as good as red wine because it is the same color and alcohol content.

I noticed that my selective hair growth has been pretty good for me, after all. The eyebrows and eyelashes came in right away so i am able to wear eye makeup again. This was probably the most important thing that has happened in the course of my treatment. And my hair on my head, of course, being complimented by total strangers. But as of yet, i really haven't grown any hair under my arms. And I haveto shave my legs way less often than before cancer. It is about time something good happened. oh yes and I will not lose sight of the upcoming boob job after radiation.

Wow, eating healthy makes you really boring. I am going to go out and buy a goldfish-bowl size glass for my one glass of red wine per day and then maybe i will write something more interesting. Never mind, i just remembered i banned myself from blogging under the influence. Do you think there might be a market out there for computers and cell phones with breathalyzers?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

more random thoughts

First of all there is nothing like being involved in a midget porn scandal to take your mind off having cancer. I really can't comment more than that.

So I now need to drivein to Mass general every two weeks to have my oncologist look at my boobs, look at the computer and say you're ok, come back in two weeks. The appointment thing is not bad, it's the driving in that is a pain in the ass. When i had chemo, it was a long appointment and a good excuse to have Meghan come with me. She would drive, and we could take the HOV lane without issue, and I didn't have to pay attention to driving, which is why I never noticed that every time I go to MGH there is a Duck Bus stalking me, or maybe not but they seem to be everywhere and I have never been on one, maybe I should suggest that as an activity for my work, as no one signed up for my sky diving idea. Granted, i got the idea when I thought I was more cancerous than I am, but I still think it should be a fun thing to do.

It is funny how i cannot type very well. I looked over the last paragraph and realized I had written mass gerbal instead of general. Anyway, I took some time out from TV to start reading those mystery novels by the dead Swedish guy, the girl with the dragon tattoo. I would like to believe they are a step up from my usual literary fare of cooking mysteries because my friend Brian read them and he just got his doctorate degree. OK, i know I have a doctorate and I am an idiot, but he has a real doctorate, and he got it at this age, not 20 years ago when our minds were in a little bit better shape.

So when I went back to TV because I am too cheap to buy the third book in hard cover ( I will back down and order it from I noticed that still every TV show and commercial is about cancer. There is a particular commercial about the american cancer society being in charge of bringing more birthdays to cancer patients. I had a thought. Just in case,maybe cancer patients should have a birthday every month. And another TV commercial gave me a very good idea for a present I should get for one of my monthly birthdays. There is one Kitchen appliance that you pour coffee beans and ice into and it makes coffee first then an iced lattee drink. All at once. Probably the most intelligent and useful kitchen appliance ever invented. Certainly better than the stove, which I never used at my house which I thought was just me but now I realized that Cindy never uses hers either. And she keeps marshmallows in the microwave.

Speaking of microwaves, I start radiation tomorrow. And i think it is reike-massage day at the radiation doctors, so I am good. Although I realized that having to go to radiation Monday through friday for the rest of the sumer prevents me from going on any sort of vacation; on the other hand, summer is really not the time I need a real vacation, as it is not freezing here, and I actually live some place that other people come to in the summer to vacation. Like those people on the Duck Bus who are stalking me. I love it when my random thoughts come back together.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mel Gibson

Thought of a good punishment for Mel. He should have to finance a high-end battered women's shelter with all the services that go with it- counseling, housing, etc. In California. I will run it when I am over the cancer. So if anyone knows any of the california da's, please pass this on.

Otherwise it is late and I am tired. I am very sad to say that my friends at work are not taking my new cancer diet very seriously and forced me to eat an ice cream sundae. Although, I think that the book might have said that weekends don't count.

Friday, July 16, 2010

cancer shrink

The new cancer shrink was actually quite good. Even if she did used to work with my ex-husband. That means, though, that she has been in the business as long as I have as opposed to the new medical school grad i had who just didn't click with me. Anyway this new doctor does what I thought cancer shrinks should do- she talked about my cancer and the effect it was having on my feelings, behavior, etc. She acknowledged that yeah, maybe it is a little stressful when every time you come to an appointment, you learn something new that is worse than what you thought. I think working with her is going to go along pretty well with all that alternative stuff i am going to do at the radiatiion place. I might even take a yoga for delicate people class. Shit, I had the perfect chance to steal a yoga mat from work last night but was too honest (i.e. afraid of getting caught) to do it. Well, i think they are only like 12.99 and i suppose not worth losing my job and health insurance over. Of course I could have used the chemo-brain excuse- Oh, I thought this was my purse!

So anyway, I am starting to feel like the old me again. I picked up an overtime shift, proving that an old lady with cancer can work 16 hours. Having proven that, I think I will just sit back the next time an overtime shift comes up- unlessI need the money for something really important like going sky diving or getting a face lift. (insurance pays for the boob job, the rest is on me.) Or bailing Cindy out of jail.

After the doctors, we went out to lunch with a friend of Cindy's who invited us to spend next weekend at his house in Cape Cod. I have a life. It mainly occurs on weekends as i will have radiation every weekday until September. But with reiki and massage. Then I found out that my friend Bev had worked her charms and gotten us tickets at face value (no scalpers here) for the long sold out Aerosmith concert at Fenway Park.

My friend at work wanted to gel my hair and try for a mohawk. It is too short, but i did put gel in it today. It is a little bit funky. My head definitely is a fashion statement now. Obviously i will need new clothing or at least shoes to go with it. I think i will save my major clothes shopping for when I do not have to look for things that will nicely accomodate a fake plastic boob. Not hard plastic like a kids toy truck, you know, sort of soft, in fact I believe it is made of silicone not plastic. From silicone valley. That is ok for fake boobs that are not inside you, which mine is not.

And I finally got all the paperwork I needed to get to the pain in the ass realtor (really not such a big deal, maybe just my procrastination.) so very soon i will have that albatross of a house out from around my neck. (Albatross on your neck?) Monkey on your back? I am not very literate. While everyone is reading war and peace and crime and punishment, i find my books in the "culinary mysteries" department of Annie's used books. And for those of you reading Anna Karenina? She walks in front of a train and kills herself. Now that you know what happens go out and get the latest Chelsea Handler book or something. It's summer, for Christ's sake!

And I, for one,Am going to enjoy it.AND MOST IMPORTANTLY I HAVE SIGNED UP FOR THE CANCER BEAUTY CLASS I MISSED BECAUSE OF INTESTINAL DIFFICULTIES!!! FREE MAKEUP HAS BEEN ORDERED FOR ME. Look out, I was going to say the name of some super model here, but I don't know any. Heidi Klum? Heidi Fleiss? I am going to have to fit in a few issues of people magazine into my already strenuous reading schedule. At least I know about Mel Gibson. What an asshole. I am going to really try and think of an appropriate punishment for him, and will post it when I do, but feel free to suggest things. Yes, I am talking to you, my nine followers, who never comment on anything. Come on, participate! What would Miss Tahmisian say? If she were not (I assume, as she was 100 years old 30 years ago) dead. Well she probably wouldn't say anything to me because I say fuck and show my boob to everyone. My psychiatrist was most impressed by my candor, (or maybe she was pretending to be as she wrote me out a script for a very high dose of haldol.) Anyway, pharmacy couldn't fill it as they determined i was not crazy enough. You know sometimes you just can't be........

Sanity is over-rated

So I am killing time after working the night shift and going to my cancer shrink. My body is wide awake but my mind is fucked, so I will be good and crazy when I see her. It would really be a waste of time to see a shrink if I were sane, right?

I got the cancer book. As I suspected, when I glanced through the diet section, they are kind of down on refined sugar, white bread and red meat. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that they recommend red wine and chocolate. I believe they said the more the better, I am not really sure but if one of something is good, ten of them must be even better, right?

I briefly considered re-learning how to cook so i could make stuff with that new fake sugar that is out that is supposed to be pretty good. The natural one, not the chemicals. Cancer book is very much against chemicals. Even deodorant, i am going to have to go to whole foods and buy Tom's natural. As I recall, it doesn't seem to work very well. I fear that in order to conquer cancer I am going to stink. Especially because apparently the number one "food" that inhibits breast cancer is garlic! Between stinking and having just one boob, I am not likely to get laid in the near future. If anyone knows a blind guy with no sense of smell, give him my number. Cindy's apartment has braille on the elevators. But no pets, although by law they may have to allow seeing eye dogs. I am not sure.

Also, my radiation doctor's office has free massage, reiki, acupressure, meditation and all of that stuff on every thursday. So I am signing up. And luckily for me, the cancer book's recommended "exercise" is walking for 30 minutes a day. I am positive i do two or three times that every day I work. And I may even go downstairs to the gym and use that stupid treadmill. I think you can watch tv while you do it. Unfortunately, I am forbidden to do any real working out type of exercise for several years due to my surgery. Otherwise i would be signing up to climb mountains and enter triathalons. Right.

One last thing that has nothing really to do with anything except that it was cancer related. i was out buying a birthday card for a friend whose birthday is July 19th, although who knows when i will remember to mail it. Anyway, there are these really funny cards for people with cancer, and people going through chemo. I am a little mad that I did not think of it first. There are also cards for divorce and job loss. I love it. Probably next thing will be good luck with your in vitro fertilization and sorry your house got foreclosed on. And of course the congratulations for coming out of the closet, which I think would be hilarious to send to straight homophobic people. Mazel tov! You're a Lesbian!! You know, i have always loved gay men but never really knew many lesbians until lately and I have to say I really like the ones I have met. Also, there seem to be a lot more bisexual people than there were say ten years ago. has anyone else noticed this?

You know, this shrink is really going to work for her money today, I tell you. Hopefully my next post will not be written while in a straight jacket. Maybe she'll give me really good drugs?

I forgot to add that I now go everywhere with my head unadorned by wig or scarf. I have about 1/4 inch long hair and everyone wants to rub my head because it is soft and fuzzy. Seems to becoming in sort of dirty blonde- brown. If it turns gray i am dying it pink. Eyelashes and eyebrows are back, and I am going to once again have to get a bikini wax- that particular area had an amazingly fast hair growth, wouldn't you know it. Cindy said to shave it off and stick it on to my head, but I declined. Maybe she should go to the shrink with me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Well first of all, I have a tattoo. well it is just three separate dots around where I will get radiatiion, but it was done the way a regular tattoo is done with ink and needles and all. Didn't hurt a bit so now i think I am ready for the big time. I am thinking a heart on my butt or a flower or something in a discrete area. Or maybe a tramp stamp. I feel I am at an appropriate age and stage in life for one of those.

I am modifying my feeling about male cancer doctors. Not because I think any of them read this and would sue me, because truth is a defense to libel, plus i didn't mention any names or for that mater, say anything bad about them. My radiation guy is good. He spent a lot of time, talking to me like i was stupid which i totally was. Also we bonded over having kids at NYU. I didn't tell him my ex is responsible for the vast majority of the money that is paid to them- I think he will give me a discount or waive the co-pay or something if he thinks i have to pay the tuition. And one of the radiation techs (a woman) had hair almost as short as mine and hers was intentional,not because of chemo, so that gave me the courage to go au naturel to work. Well, I mean without a wig or scarf or anything. I do not mean naked, which i am almost sure is against our dress code. Plus my boss is on vacation. She had "preferred" the wig as she thought the bald head might upset some of the psych patients. However, as my daughter said last week at the beach, I now look more like Sinead O'Connor than a cancer patient. And, my eyebrows and eye lashes are back. I can wear mascara! You do not know how wonderful this is. Really. Anyway, i am starting to like how I look again. For someone as vain as me, this is huge. You know for a while, i didn't really care how I looked- I should have noticed that, as a psych nurse, that was certainly the first sign of my falling into a deep depression. However, it was cured by the arrival of eye lashes. Didn't even have to increase the prozac.

I haven't started daily radiation. That will happen next week. It will be before work, with about an hour to kill after radiation and before work and guess what there is a little mall with some of my favorite stores in it right smack on the way from the radiation doctors to my work. A good omen if I ever heard one. By my favorite stores, I mean in real life, not my pretend life. In other words, TJ Maxx, not Gucci.

And by the way, my patients liked the bare head. They think it is a fashion statement, not a medical side-effect. So maybe i should shop at Gucci. Or at least hope that they have some really good Gucci knock-offs at TJ Maxx. I am so cool. PLUS, tattooed. Look for me on the cover of Cosmo next month.

Monday, July 12, 2010

too stupid for cancer

ok, i am a nurse. Granted, a psychiatric nurse for the past almost 25 years, so I know more about psychiatric stuff and have in fact easily diagnosed myself, friends and family and strangers in elevators with various psychiatric aliments, generally correctly. But I know some medical stuff. I work in Hospitals, for god's sake. Psych patients have medical issues, too. So i am assuming I should know more medical stuff than a non-medical person. makes sense, right? Then why, every time faced by my oncologist, I get nothing right? Why did i, for a week, think that I had more cancer and that chemo did not work? There is some kind of cancer talk that I just don't get. So Apparently this lymph node thing is no big deal- then I asked him if i am now a different stage? he says no, you are still a stage 3. Really? I thought I was a stage one, then someone who paid more attention said no, you thought you were a stage one but were really a stage two (a kid or a friend or someone said that, so apparently I told them that.) But stage three? News to me, although I guess not news to my oncologist. So, ok, I admit it. I am too stupid to have cancer. I am ready to get rid of it now, and give it to someone who is smarter than me. Really they should only let really smart people, preferably male oncologists, get cancer. Because I think they are the only ones who know what they are talking about. I am now seriously considering buying breast cancer for dummies, so I will have something to read while I await the arrival of the book that is not going to let me eat ice cream. And yes, I do think the medical system should be run by nurses. Doctors focus on the disease, nurses focus on the patient with the disease. Luckily I have a lot of friends who are nurses. And kids who pay attention to what doctors and other people, even me, say. So tomorrow i see the radiation doctor. Hopefully, he- and yes, it is a he, the female radiation oncologist is in Boston and I cannot drive to Boston 5 days a week for a month or however long it is going to be. Hopefully, he will speak a language I understand, or someone will have to come with me as a translator. Or maybe he will have everything done by a nurse. I can only hope.

Friday, July 9, 2010


the new pill will not effect my hair growth.

ice cream

Well this will be short as I have to go to work. But apparently the positive lymph node thing is not as bad as I thought. Wish they had said something like that on the phone, probably would have saved me at least one moderate hangover. It just means I have a slightly higher chance of recurrence than if they were all begative. Re-occurrance? Anyway whichever word he said, I said, well if we're talking about re-occurance then there is no cancer occurring right now and he said yes. I hate men doctors- my fellow, who was a woman, left as all younger doctors do, on July 1st and I have yet to get a new one. Anyway, I think all health care should be run by nurses but that is for a later rant when I have more time. I am not going to Cancer center place as it seems like now radiation is the next thing to do and it is every day and I certainly can't do that in Philadelphia- not and keep my job and health insurance. I am going to have to take some kind of pill, beginning with Z, of course I forget because I went by myself not with Meghan. And I have ordered an anti-cancer book with ideas on nutrition and will take yoga and make my friends practice massage and reiki on me. Yes, nutrition. As I await the book in the mail, I am eating all the ice cream in the house cuz look out when it comes I will just be eating really green vegetables, I think.

Oh and I am still going to the beach every sunny day I don't have work. I do know I am immune to skin cancer because I already have this.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cancer spas

Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I have been talking to the one in Philadelphia. Apparently my insurance will cover an evbaluation there. They will fly me and a friend out, put us up in a hotel for 3-5 days and do an evaluation. They offer the traditional medical treatments but also mind body stuff, accupuncture, etc. One patient referred to it as a spa. i could handle that. They'd fly me as often as I need treatment there, and i think maybe I need to try this out. I can see myself lying on a massage table, getting reiki, accupuncture, etc. I am sure they have a hot tub. What the hell, I think I will give it a shot.
Maybe wine and chocolate does not cure cancer. Maybe pampering does. And I could use some. Good night.

independence day

ok so I declare my independence from sitting around waiting til I was over cancer to start having fun. I'm working all weekend, and you know what? I really like my job and the people i work with. Generally since the surgery if i work, I just go home and rest. But yesterday, my friend Denise, who I knew when I was 12 and have probably seen her 4 times since then- our families were best friends when we were little kids- anyway, we found each other on facebook and she has been inviting me to do stuff for months and of course I was always too tired, or too busy having cancer, etc. No more. Went over for dinner and met her kids and new husband, very very nice people. And lawyers, no less. Not her kids. They are too young. But lawyers who are funny and are great cooks and just very comfortable to hang around. After dinner we went to her sister Terri's house. Terri is a little older and in fact, was my babysitter when I was young. Like 20. Not really. I had such a great time connecting with this family that had been such a big part of my life so long ago and you know, it was as if no time had passed at all. I saw fireworks, i drank champagne and ate cheesecake and i flirted with a happily married anaesthesiologist with a cool accent. Yes, it is possible to flirt with one boob and very little hair. I am relearning my flirting skills. Coming up- a day at the beach and then in a week or two sky diving at the Cape. And I am going to start wearing false eyelashes all the time, except swimming and sky diving.

On the way home from work, i passed a red convertible Mitsubishi eclipse. I am going to go look at it my next day off. It is definitely time for a red sports car for babs.

because the other stuff I am starting is a little less glamorous. Looking into what kind of nutrition you need with cancer. I am guessing that the brownies and potato chips I had today are not part of it. Also investigating all the complementary and alternative treatments for cancer to go along with the medical stuff that is tried and true well usually except not for me this time. Found a place with reiki, massage and acupunture, meditation, guided imagery and some other touchy feely stuff I forget, all of which my insurance covers. Why the hell not. I deserve it.

And maybe, just maybe, this time I will arrange my medical care around my vacationing in the Carribean time. Just as soon as i find my passport. Whoo hoo!

steven tyler in a red sox shirt!!!

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