welcome to the danger zone

Posts tagged “New Year

Return, Resolutions, Repeat

I'm back....

I’m back….

That’s right, my lovelies – I did not run over any armadillos, I did not get a cat, I did not mix vodka with orange juice, I did not become a brain eating zombie, I managed to stay awake for at least one hour a day, I resolved to clean the house when absolutely necessary (which it never truly was), I did not use a drone to attack the neighbors, I ate no cauliflower, I checked my phone once a day, and I never told facebook what city I live in, no matter how many times it asked. 10 Resolutions made, 10 completed. Completing such daunting tasks gives me such a sense of satisfaction. I don’t know that I can top this in 2015, but damn it, what’s live without challenge?

I’ll get to this year’s resolutions in a moment. I really want to give the real ending to the attack on the cyst, because I couldn’t before I told my dad (aka pop) the facts – I didn’t want to ruin the holiday for him or for my niece – I mean I had to ruin it for Andy and some of my brothers, co-workers and friends, and of course, it was a bit of a downer for me too, but I couldn’t do it to my dad. I think I’ve told most people, if I haven’t and this is where you get the news first, I’m sorry. It’s not the thing you get any enjoyment out of telling people and one thing I’ve learned is that no matter how many people I tell, there’s always going to be someone that I forgot to. I can think of five or ten or fifteen now. Fact is, I’m tired of telling people. Here’s a fact: Telling people you have cancer (again) is fucking hard. You feel bad that your are giving people bad news, you feel you have to make them feel better, they always ask how they can help and it’s just generally a bad thing. If I tell you, just tell me that you love me. Or if you don’t love me, just say, hey, whatever you need. I’ll keep talking if I feel like talking about it, and if I don’t keep talking about it, and you have questions, ask me. I have a blog, seriously, it’s not like this shit is secret.

Anyhow, I read the CT scan before the surgery. I saw the words “possible malignancy” – I saw the look on the ER doctors face when he had to tell me there were some concerning items on the scan. I know my body. I knew something was wrong. After surgery, when Minion 1 arrived, and I asked her about the offending nodule and if they found cancer, she danced around it, saying that they “don’t think” anything is wrong, but they are only using human eyes. I much preferred the way I found out the first time – the resident held my hand and said it straight up, we can’t confirm it yet, but from the preliminary pathology, it looks like cancer. This time, I knew I was going to hear not very good news at my appointment. I know when they take a biopsy, they look at the sample to make sure it’s a good one. They don’t just randomly snap out a bit of tissue and hope for the best. And while they are checking, they can notice whether they have good cells or abnormal cells. Sure, they may not know if it’s malignant with certainty, but they know if something’s up or not. Minion 1 needs to work on her delivery. I should give lessons.

I also knew I wasn’t healing as quickly as I have in the past. I had some pretty hideous bruising. I lost my appetite. I knew things were different, but I wanted to believe what the Minion 1 told me. So when I got to my appointment on the 22nd, I was ready for the news, or at least I thought so. I went by myself because Andy was in Pittsburgh with my nephew and brothers for a Steelers game. I didn’t want him to not have fun because I had an appointment. I asked my niece’s mom to go with me last minute, but she couldn’t. So I just resigned myself to going it alone. I got there on time, checked in, and waited. I got weighed, and found out I’d lost 40lbs since October. That’s a lot. And then I waited. My blood pressure was almost normal, but there was much excitement by the nurse when I told her I was off the morphine and just taking percocet. I wasn’t in pain. That’s good. Yay. No need to undress. Hang out, Dr. will be in. Now, Dr. K is a presence. He’s a tall, funny guy, with a southern twang to his voice and he’s always cracking jokes with nurses and staff and patients. I suppose you have to when you have to give the news he’s giving. He’s almost never late. I can sometimes hear him talking to other patients when I wait for him. Today I can hear him telling one that they will beat this thing, and that they will be in to review the chemo and radiation schedule with her, etc, etc, etc. Not good. It’s still taking a while for him to see me. I wonder where my treatment coordinator is – I have presents for her and Nurse Sue and Dr. K – just little holiday gifts to say thanks. I don’t hear Anne outside either – not good. Finally, Dr. K arrives with Minion 2 from the ER nightmare. They sit down. Sit. That doesn’t usually happen, so yes, it’s another harbinger of doom. Dr. K looks at me and doesn’t mess around – the biopsy shows cancer, and launches into how we could treat it. No surgery, no radiation, two different ways to address it with chemo, there’s no protocol for cancer in this area, quite frankly he doesn’t even know how or why it came back, it shouldn’t have at this point, once you pass two years, there’s a much less likelihood of recurrence. I just kinda look at him, and tell him I don’t have dying on my agenda. He said that’s good because he hasn’t, and isn’t, giving me permission to die. I’m not crying, I’m almost relieved because now I know – I awkwardly hand him the card and ornament I brought him – tell him I don’t know if he Jewish, or celebrates Kwanza or Christmas, but he can hang the ornament on his Hanukkah bush if he wants to – and thank him for taking such good care of me. I can tell this is as hard on him as it is for me. I think the Minion 2 wants to bolt, but is glad I am not crying and that I am, matter-of-factly, addressing what I need to do. Dr. K tells him to talk to me about the MRI, since he hasn’t staged it yet, and needs the MRI to determine what all is happening in the dark recesses of where the stupid pufferfish lies. I tell him I think the unwieldy beast is starting its dark resurgence because I’m having some discomfort in the area, and he says that’s what he wants to see on the MRI. Minion 2 has ceased sweating, I truly believe he thought I would lose it like I did when they offered my the psych hold in the ER. I maintained calm. OK, I was in shock, but it still didn’t involve crying.

You are never really prepared for the news. I’m still not sure I have accepted it, and probably won’t until they hang the poison bag on the rack and it starts dripping into my arm. Dr. K and I hug, he assures me that we will kick cancer’s ass and be laughing about this in no time. He tells me this is a shitty way to end the year, and a shitty way to start a new one, but go home, enjoy the holiday, and they will call me with the chemo schedule the day after Christmas. I tell him I trust him, he got me through it the last time and will this time. I shake the Minion 2’s hand, and like a scared bunny, he hands me the packet of papers for checkout and flees the room. I head to checkout. As I stand there, alone, having just been told my body has betrayed me, it hits me, and I tear up. I have cancer. Fuck. The receptionist asks me about the papers – I tell her all I know is I have a 4 week appointment on the 5th, and Dr. K wants me to have an MRI. She asks if it is scheduled – I tell her I don’t know – I was just handed papers by the Minion 2. She looks, and doesn’t have a clue why I have been handed all of Dr. K’s results and notes. I suddenly realize I need a note for work, and another prescription for percocet. I ask if she can get that for me when she asks him about the other papers. She does – he tells me I’m off until after my 4 week check up. I realize we never even looked at the incisions. Good thing I heal OK. She comes back with all my papers – I ask her if she can give Anne and Sue my cards and ornaments. She will. I’m still not really connecting to any of this. I get my appointment for the MRI and visit summary and head for the elevators.

I don’t break down until I am in the car. Then I am a snotty, sobbing, weeping, sniveling, snorting, coughing, choking mess for about five minutes. And alone. Horribly alone. And also very glad to be alone because I don’t have to worry about making anyone else feel better about my breakdown. I text who I need to text. I need to get groceries while I am down here. It’s funny how the trauma and the mundane activities intersect here. I need to get food. I also need to get home. I start the car and go to Giant, and mindlessly wheel the cart up and down the aisles, tossing shit in I don’t really need, but I have a fuck-it-you-only-live-once attitude and decide we’re having a fucking rib roast and ask at the butcher counter for a small incredibly expensive rib roast. Two hundred dollars later, I’m checking out of Giant with my rib roast. I forget to buy water. I’m not even hungry. I need to go home and that’s the last place I want to be. My iPod won’t fucking charge. I’m not going home until I have the opportunity to sing loudly with my iPod, and preferably with OWTH, until the pain inside is purged. I must also see my friend, Pony-Pony. I need some normality in this surreal scene. I also need gas. Actually, GAS first.

So I drive – first to a gas station. I fuel up and head to the MHS barn to see Pony-Pony. He’s not there. They probably are making him be the stupid donkey is some live nativity somewhere. I keep driving. I see my friends, the goats, at the goat barn, and I yell “fuck you” at the sheep in their pasture. My iPod is still not charged. I see some cows. I see another pony, and another, none of which are Pony-Pony, but at least I saw them. I keep driving. I realize my blood sugar is quite low, and I am a little shaky – I’ll got to Hardee’s. This whole time I feel like I am in weird freaky film where my character is in a dream world unbeknownst to everyone who sees her. It’s like none of this is real. I finally get the iPod charged enough to commence screamsinging. Fortunately, RTE 322 is not busy and I can cry and sing and drive all at once with no worries. It’s not real. It’s not real. I get to Hardee’s and order some sort of burger and onion rings. I manage to choke down the onion rings. I head home.

The drive was cathartic. And pretty scary. Occasionally I would look down at the speedometer during pauses between songs. I pushed 100+mph more than a few times. It’s not really my fault the car goes that fast. I slowed down several times. I wanted to get home and then I didn’t. I would have to tell Andy and then other people. This is the part that sucks. I finally drove home – I walked in and Andy was all excited to tell me about his trip and the game – and I killed that with a look. He asked how the visit went and I lost it. I sobbed and cried and told him how sorry I was he had to go through this all again. My kid is a good hugger. He told me I was the strongest person he knew and it was just cancer, and I could beat it. Then he proceeded to hug me some more. When he was adequately covered in snot, he went and got the groceries from the car. I didn’t want my expensive rib roast being stolen in this neighborhood

The C-monster is such a fucking burden. Not only do you have to worry about being sick, but you have to worry about bills and work, and the house and telling people and not upsetting people all while being told that this is the time you are supposed to focus on yourself. If there are people who are able to do that, I wish they would have a network where you could find out their secret. Because once you recover from the shock, you have to think about who to tell, and when and where and how and how are they gonna react and if they are old, like my dad, are you going to kill them? And then there’s the logistics – appointments and chemo and food and laundry and the joys of all the changes in smell and touch and taste. And when you have been the head of household for the last 24 years, that just doesn’t stop, you still worry about that. It’s just a lot. And no matter how much you have people tell you they will do whatever they can to help you, you don’t want to ask, because you don’t want to be a burden, and you want to be strong and tackle this yourself.

I’m tired of writing tonight, and I am tired of watching this fucking pathetic Steelers game while I type. I’m tired of being sick and doctor’s appointments, and not wanting to get out of bed. At least there’s minimal pain. At least there’s plenty of food in our house and we have functioning utilities. I can still write. My bed is comfy. I have a new blanket to take to chemo with me. It’s all gonna be over in 18 weeks (it better be). Tomorrow is the MRI – it will be a whole new experience for me, so look forward to that blog entry. I sure hope there’s no metal inside that suddenly gets torn from my body like I’ve seen in horror movies.

Good night my happy people…I’ll be keeping you updated – hug on your loved ones and do something fun with them before they can’t, or you can’t. Sleep well. Oh, about those resolutions, still working on them. I won’t be bound by your constrictive linear timetables. Kisses.

Oh yeah – three years ago yesterday, I got my first diagnosis. Happy Anniversary. I didn’t know the 3rd anniversary was also cancer.

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Sorry. Not Sorry.

I thought I was writing too much. I thought I don’t want to bore the tears our of my bloggie-buddies, and then have them stop reading my brilliant missives. I don’t want people to be annoyed by my blog. Then I remembered why I write this blog: FOR ME. It’s my outlet, to clear my head, to analyze all the scraps that I gather in a day, week, month, year, and to give me a place to spread all those bits and pieces out and take a look at them, and see if they make a big picture. Or a little one. Or any kind of picture. I care that people read it – that would be a lie if I said I didn’t – but I would write it even if they didn’t. So I was going to say sorry for inundating you with my trivial mind dumps – but I’m not.

I like writing. I like thinking “out loud” in that way. I could be doing something useful and practical, like cleaning, organizing or crafty. Reading. Folding laundry. Dare I say it? Exercising. I’m not, I’m plopped in a recliner with my busted laptop on my lap, probably giving my left knee some sort of tumor because of battery radiation, typing away. Sometimes I write entire paragraphs and delete them because I get way off on a tangent. You should be grateful that I edit myself. I should be grateful I edit myself. I sometimes thinks I should say great things in my blog, be inspiring, that sometimes I am just too whiny. I guess, this being a reflective sort of day for all of us, a new year, a new beginning, I kind of feel that I should be doing something important, or enlightening. Something other than typing indiscriminately, eating mediocre pepperoni pizza, and watching a Tudors marathon. I wonder sometimes why people even read this blog because it’s not like I do anything truly inspiring. I just let words spill out on a page in an exercise of self-indulgence.

Sometimes I am afraid that I get too preachy or stack my soapboxes too high. And again, I have to remind myself, these are my thoughts, and as long as they aren’t going to jeopardize my job again, I write for me. I think I do it because I don’t know a lot of people who think like me, (or maybe I do and they just aren’t comfortable being a bleeding-heart feminist socialist crafting-philosopher-mommy with narcissistic tendencies) and I need to say what I think without the threat of the villagers storming my house and burning me as a witch. I sometimes say the things I think out loud, and I see the brief flash of horror/fear/incredulousness pass over the eyes of the person I am talking to and hear the hesitation in their voice before they attempt to reply to what they just heard. Sometimes I say things just for the shock value, just to get a conversation started. I like hearing what other people think, having a discussion about something. And even though I write this blog for me, sometimes I just hope someone will make a comment that will lead to a discussion. When I was teaching, I loved having my students do a daily journal (a great teaching tool that I learned from Dr. Jessica Dorman, my graduate school adviser, and friend) because it gave me the opportunity to have a discussion with them one on one that I couldn’t have in class. It was a lot of work, but it gave both of us to a chance to think, digest and reflect on things that we don’t normally get in a busy day. Not everyone gets the cultural subtext of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the film) nor the depiction of Feminist Theory in the Powerpuff Girls. Or how democracy fails following apocalyptic events as depicted in The Walking Dead. Or appreciating the Shakespearean themes in SOA. Sigh.

Anyway, it’s New Year’s Day and you know what that means. All-new Dance Moms. Another study in what fascinates the masses and how it is connected to my theory that Western Civilization is decline. I could read. You would not believe the tons of books I have in this house that I have not yet read. (I did read my Christmas book “The Santa Trap” – but I was disappointed that it did not rhyme. It did have very lovely illustrations and makes a fine addition to my children’s Christmas book collection). The unread do not in any way match the heavy library that has to be moved every time we do, but it’s a significant stack. I also have a massive amount of unfinished projects from Christmas to do, including my Christmas cards. (Christmas is a season, so if you are waiting on your card, it’s coming, I still got until the end of the holiday season). There’s laundry – Santa was supposed to bring me a dryer, but he is going to have to get new brakes for the car instead. There tons of other things that need doing. And goals and shit I should be setting. You know, turning the grasshopper into the ant. I wonder who lives longer? Off to google that now. Back. Ants, particularly worker ants, normally live 90 days. Some can live 2 years. Grasshoppers live about year in warmer climes, or die in winter in colder ones after they lay eggs. Male grasshoppers die after they mate. They will mate from 45 minutes to all day before they drop off and die. It is also much more likely that you will step on an ant and not a grasshopper. I suppose I am better off being a grasshopper in the long run. Ants are followers. Grasshoppers bounce all over the place. The more I read, the more I am a grasshopper. And I think I might be okay with it.

Well there’s you have it…my first blog entry for the new year. Unfortunately, like most other obsessions with my life, this is the current one. I signed up for this blog challenge thing for the next thirty days, so you can expect me to stop writing completely within a week, because we know how I love structure and consistency. I am going to think hard that the snow starts tonight so I can have a snow day tomorrow. Everyone think hard. I need more time to do nothing. And if you are the person who I promised Zealot to, remind me of that, because I’m done reading it. I’ve also been tossing around the idea of reviving the book club – let me know if you care. In other news, I’m still short three subscribers to meet my goal of fifty real people. And hey, if you are looking for me to be a ball of perky sunshine every day, join my Gratitude 365 group on FB. I might even start documenting my thrilling life on memory card (I almost said film, but who uses film anymore) And now, I’m going to beg Andy to make cheeseburgers. Andy makes the best fucking cheeseburgers. Peace bloggy peeps.


A Self-Righteous, Snarky and Completely Unrelateable Rant.

Couple of things. I am still waiting on the deliveries of leftover cookies. Really. I still don’t have the energy to bake christmas cookies, but do have the energy to eat them. Normally, I am inundated with them. This year, not so much. No, wait, NOT AT ALL.

Second, sorry I am writing so much. I just feel like writing, and therefore if you are reading this, you feel much like you do when you see a car wreck. You are compelled to stop and read. Unless, you are more like the people who are lately subscribing to my blog. Some people do read it and subscribe, but a surprising number just subscribe and don’t even read my brilliant essays and observations. They apparently want to help me make my blog better. Except some of their pages use particularly poor grammar and poor spelling. And want to help me make my muscles bigger. Or give me the opportunity to join their internet home business and have a life of travel. Unless you are some sort of performer, or ambassador or politician, or pope, I do believe that having to move every 2-3 months to an exotic locale screams FUGITIVE rather than successful business person. But, hey, some people claim I have been wrong at some point in my life.

Anyway, that isn’t what drew me back to my keyboard. First has to do with kids. I will probably ruffle the feathers of many people with this post, but hey, I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying take it one step further. Recently, in a nearby county a beautiful young girl lost her life to cancer. Losing a child is my greatest fear, even though my child is 22, it still terrifies me. I am so sorry her family has had to suffer with her through her illness, and now are faced with her absence from this world. That’s something no parent should have to face, ever. Today however, thousands of children will die. I just watched a program on a 9yo boy who died from systematic starvation by his mother and her paramour, and how during the autopsy, he was found to have 250 SEPARATE injuries sustained to his body over the previous months. No one organized anything while he was dying. He had no last wish. No one posted across the interwebs tributes to his passing. He just died. And the only reason his death matters now, is because it made an interesting documentary about how horrific his parents were. But his death was perhaps even more horrible because it was observed and totally preventable. I can give you my thoughts on why no one rallied together to save him, or memorialize him or change the system that failed him, but does that matter? Not really, What matters to me is this: we’ll take the time to pass on an article, or a video and we’ll comment on it and whatever using social media. But why do we feel that’s enough? You want to honor that child, really? Donate five dollars to a charity. Call the cancer society, or cystic fibrosis foundation, or childhood diabetes foundation, and ask how you can help. Do a real action in honor of that child. I don’t want my news feed to be full of tribute videos about a kid you don’t know because you just want to feel good about passing it on. Sorry, it just fires me up. Passing on a video does nothing. Taking action, no matter how small, starts a ripple of change. I’m not saying you can’t post a tribute video, but hey, do something with it. And if you can do nothing else, start a conversation about it, point people to resources, and for dog’s sake, don’t follow it up with a ecard about how you would like to hit stupid people in the face with a chair. And before you slap another poor doggie picture on my facebook wall, realize that the SPCA needs sixty cents a day to care for that poor kitty or doggie. UNICEF asks only for fifty. Why are we all so eager to give cash to save animals and let children starve? Unless we are planning to fatten up those kitties and puppies… oh seriously, boycott my blog…that was a joke.

UPDATE: So, I saw an add from the organization CARE.org. They only need 30 cents a day for a month to help a child. That’s right, for what you’d donate to help a puppy, you can help TWO children. 90% of CARE’s donations go directly to humanitarian causes while 81% of the ASPCA’s funding goes to actual efforts, 17% goes to fundraising, including MAKING THOSE DAMN COMMERCIALS. So yeah, just wanted to help keep the populace informed.

want to help kids with cancer? here’s a chance – any donation makes her closer to her goal…$1, $2, whatever…

http://pages.teamintraining.org/cpa/blbeartr14/GinnyAckiewicz#home

UPDATE: Ginny made it past $1000…so she’s over 50% there…but don’t let that keep you from donating. or donating again.

Finally, I’ve been meaning to follow up on the whole Duck Dynasty nonsense. I hope you will all refer to your own pocket constitution and follow along. If not, there is one online, http://constitutionus.com/

In particular, I draw your attention to the first article in the bill of rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I would like to point out that Congress will make no laws about freedom of speech. It does not mean that you have it. It means that Congress will make no law that prohibits it. So, it means you can say what you want, there is no law that prevents it. You however, will still be accountable for the repercussions of your words and how they impact your life. Sorry you aren’t smart enough to read and understand the constitution. You say something you own it and you own the consequences of saying it. I see a person much larger than me. I use my words to call them something that will offend them. They beat the crap out of me. I call foul. I say I have free speech and can say what I want and no one can do anything to me. You would say idiot. But let me be a TV personality, and depending on my popularity I can say whatever nonsense I want and not have consequences. Because a bunch of equally stupid politicians and their constituents think they know the constitution. I doubt most of them have read it. You don’t want to be held accountable, don’t fucking say it. I can’t call people fornicators, sodomites, and insult them based on their skin color without having consequences, why does a TV reality show star get to do so, and have millions of people support them. FALL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION.

A few months back, I made a benign comment of facebook regarding some insight I had on my mental attitude one day. Someone on my friend’s list – which is minimal – decided to call my job and complain about it. To get me fired. Basing my ability to do my job on one statement. I had to have my supervisor and director speak to me about what I say on Facebook. I insulted no one. But I was held to the fire for speaking my mind. I took ownership of my words. BECAUSE THE ONLY PLACE I AM TRULY FREE IS IN MY MIND. If I put it out here, I own it. These are my thoughts and I am willing to lose my job if I put it out there and causes harm to what I do. I own what I say. I have, and I will. That does not mean that I just let whatever I am thinking flow out of my mouth or fingers. I am not that stupid. One of my favorite quotes is this: You are always free to make your own choices – however, you are not free from the consequences of that choice. Thus, the morale of my little rant is this: People will say stupid things. Maybe they don’t mean them, maybe they didn’t think them through, but they came out of their mouths. If you say it own it, and accept what happens next. And read the damn constitution. You’ll be surprised about that second amendment as well.

Finally, I did not know this was going on down under. Tragic. Make sure your read the comments to understand the true impact of this horrible epidemic.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8118257.stm?utm_campaign=Listly&utm_medium=list&utm_source=listly

As I said before, it’s back to work tomorrow. I put off being a stowaway on freighter for too long and now I’ve missed the boat, and have to resume my normal life. You may or may not hear from me before the new year. I’m not making any resolutions. I hate New Year’s Eve. I don’t understand the whole point of celebrating being one year closer to death, and regretting all the valuable lessons the last year taught you – even when they were painful and life-sucking lessons, they make the good days all that more magical. Good night my little snowballs, let’s hope for a major snowstorm on Wednesday night that closes down work for two days. We all can dream.

Hey, why not subscribe to this blog? or get your friend, or enemies to.  You never know when I will say something remarkable.