a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Archive for the ‘“Not Cancer”’ Category

hey, the NHS? Not bad at all.

Posted by wendy on 2013/09/08

Pippin loves my cast.

Pippin loves the ‘Mommy laying around’ aspect of this situation.

This is not cancer-related at all, but it IS a medical thing, so I think I should share it here.

I’ve dealt with doctors visits and mammograms since I got to England, and I’ve told my friends how much I am enjoying the ‘no paperwork, no charge’ aspects of dealing with the NHS–but, last night was my first major emergency, and I gotta tell you–I’m impressed.

We were moving a mattress up the stairs last night, and in one of my LESS graceful moments, I fell off the stairs and broke my foot (5th metatarsal) . ouch. 😦

My husband was…seriously, y’all. He’s a freaking superhero, I mean it. He sprung into action immediately–he was calm and in control and completely comforting. He managed to get me situated, call the ambulance, get my sock cut off my foot to inspect the damage, and he did it all while holding my hand and getting me to breathe through the pain. (I’m pretty sure he wasn’t holding my hand the ENTIRE time, but it sure felt like it.)


There are some pretty massive differences in England and the US when it comes to ambulances & emergency care–there was a medic in a big Volvo who showed up within 3 or 4 minutes of Mark’s call to check me out. He immediately gave me this tube to breathe in and out of–nitrous oxide (woooooooo–it was crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it outside of the dentist’s office. Apparently, their drivers carry them around as a matter of course–“oooo, does that hurt?  Here, suck on this a minute.”). He checked me over, reported his findings via radio to the ambulance drivers, who showed up within 10 minutes to take me to the hospital.

I got to take the nitrous tank (wheeeee) with me in the ambulance–I admit, I was never really a fan of that stuff until last night. But, I am officially pro-laughing gas now. They wheeled me into A&E admist jokes that I was lucky it was early, because I was going to miss the alcoholic crowd that invariably shows up in A&E on Saturday nights. The nurses were incredibly pleasant, as were the radiation techs and the doctors. No gas while I was in x-ray, but the nurse brought it over while she set my temporary cast (thankfully–seriously, dude. That HURT.). They made an appointment for me to hit the fracture clinic on Tuesday to get a permanent cast, gave me a pair of crutches and then sent us on our way. All told, we were an hour and fourty-five minutes from me breaking my foot to me being back home and on the couch skyping with Aaron.
ONE.HOUR.FOURTY-FIVE. Record time for me and emergency rooms.

The best part? No meeting with financial officers to discuss how I was planning to pay for all the excellent care I’d just received. Actually, there was NO paperwork to fill out at all. I have a National Insurance Number–I am in the system already.  It’s kind of weird to be in a hospital for a non-cancer related thing, but there you go.

While I realize there are moments that the system fails us (as do all systems)–last night, the system worked.

Like a charm.

No worries about medical bills I can’t afford, no insurance forms to fill out.  It’s awesome, I tell ya!  My biggest issue right now is figuring out how to get a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the living room without spilling it.  🙂

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(get) Busy Living

Posted by wendy on 2013/08/02

There is dust everywhere around here, isn’t there?  That’s actually okay by me.  I’m content to let the dust settle around cancer for a while before I have to wade back in and kick it all up again.   (see how I used a water AND a dirt metaphor there?  MUD PIES FOR EVERYONE!!)  Actually, I hope I NEVER blog here again.  I hope this part of my life is over, but I’m realistic enough to know that it may not be.  There is no cure for cancer.   Sometimes, it comes back.

Happy & Grateful.BUT.  Right now, this moment…today…

I’m doing really well. NED left and right.  I live in England now with my fabulous husband and my adorable dog and I miss my son like AIR, but I also get to see him nearly every night on skype AND I get to give him a big squeeze in a few weeks, so that’s a good thing.  Everyone likes to remark how happy I look–and they would be right.  I am incredibly happy and satisfied with my life.  It is everything I could have possibly wanted it to be.  I do not take this for granted. I am grateful every single day for this incredible gift.

SO.  Yes…

Sometimes, I feel like this is all borrowed time–I’ll wake up and that ache in my hip or the weird mole just above my scars (why didn’t they just cut that sucker off when they were CUTTING OFF EVERYTHING ELSE???) will turn out to be  Cancer Again and then I guess I’ll be back here documenting the hell out of everything that happens to me–but, until that time I am living my life.  Cancer can suck it.  I have adventures ahead of me and I am going to keep track of all of them here.



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Posted by wendy on 2012/08/03

I am totally married now!  It’s remarkably like being single at the moment, because two days after the wedding, I said goodbye to my husband at the airport and he’s back in England and I’m still  here in the states.  We have a new countdown now–the countdown until my Visa is approved and I get to join him.  Sadly, we have no idea what the countdown actually IS–we’re hoping for a few weeks, but it can take as long as 90 days.  gah.

The wedding was a blur–there were so many amazing and wonderful people there with us, and I feel like I didn’t get the time to really sit and connect and tell them what it meant to me that they came.  I think that’s the du jour for wedding couples, though.  We realized fairly early on that our actual wedding was only about 25% about us–it’s mostly about other people.  The people who love you, the people you love.  And, we were surrounded by them that day.  The only thing missing was my own mother and youngest sister.  Mom has been having some health issues, and couldn’t travel, so my youngest sister stayed behind to keep her company.  Had they been there, the day would have been completely perfect.  But, even so, it was pretty magical.

I’m sure you guys are all “WHATEVER WHERE ARE THE PICTURES??”, and I shall not disappoint.  We were the most well documented wedding in the history of ever–between my photographer friends, and the two amazing men who were the official photographers (Steven Miljavac of Prime Exposure Photography and Victor Koos of  VK3Photographix, I don’t think a single moment was missed.  Which is a good thing, because if anyone asked for a play by play of the day, I’d be pretty useless.  It was a blur of wonderful things and people.  (Yeah, yeah–y’all don’t care about my rambling–how about I just hush up and share some pictures and video?)

Our video is choppy–the camera kept cutting off–but, I thought I’d share my favorite moment:  Mark and his girls walking out:

And, Aaron (and Pip!) walking me out:

Pictures?  You want pictures?  They’re all over Facebook, it’s ridiculous–but you can view the official albums here and here.

And, now I’m going to go back to waiting for my Visa to come through.

*drummy fingers*

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Bridezilla With a Touch of Steinbeck

Posted by wendy on 2012/05/23

Hello world!  I’ve been off again, doing real-life things and ignoring all things c-related, but I have a super excellent excuse this time:  I’m getting married!!!  In July!!  aaaahhiiiiieeeeeee!!!  So, there’s no cancer stuff below–just girly squeeing and complaining about how expensive porta john rentals are these days.

I want to pet it and squeeze it and hug it and name it George!!

Let’s begin with the girly squeeing.  I love my ring.  I LOVE IT!  It’s unexpected and it’s unique and it’s beee-you-tiful, I tell you!  Wait, I won’t tell you–I’ll show you:    Look to your right!  No, your other right!  There you go.  Right there.   Isn’t it pretty?  Don’t you love it?  Yes!  Yes, you do.

So, as you may have guessed, I am very emotional at this time in my life.  VERY EMOTIONAL.  The word ‘bridezilla’ has been bandied about with my name (jokingly, thank goodness), but you know, it got me to thinking…WeTV has more or less ruined having the occasional (and I think very normal) bouts of The Dramas that we get when something huge is happening in our lives–like, oh…a wedding.

I’ve always maintained that the Bridezilla television show would be so much more satisfying if the horrible women who star in it got left at the alter.  I mean, I’d WATCH that show, because I love a good comeuppance.  Sadly, they do not get left, and those of us who like to see karma coming around to kick people in the shins when they deserve it are left unsatisfied.  I don’t get the women who say “I’M A BRIIIIDEZILLLA!” with such obvious glee and pride.  Are there women to aspire to be that horrendous to the people around them?  Am I supposed to be demanding and crazed and unreasonable–am I doing the bride thing incorrectly if I’m not?  There’s even a quiz on the main page of their site–I guess I need an online quiz to ascertain the level of bridal douchebaggery that lurks deep within my soul.

Aw, we’re happy.

That said, I AM in a high state of nervousness–who wouldn’t be?  But, thus far, I haven’t taken it out on any poor unsuspecting souls who cross my path.  I’m not so much a Bridezilla as I am a Lenny.  I cannot do ANYTHING.  I’m forgetful, I’m slow, I’m incapable of focusing on anything remotely difficult or intricate. I break things without meaning to.  I’m sitting around with a dopey grin on my face most of the time and not getting ANYTHING done.   Seriously, M put a ring on my hand, and I think my IQ dropped 20 points.

I may have to revisit this post in 3 weeks and see if I still feel all dopamined up and lumberingly happy.  Who knows?  My inner Bridezilla may be waiting in the wings to pounce on the first poor, unsuspecting soul who brings me red gerbera daisies with slightly browned edges.  Or, I’ll break into a stream of unbridelike expletives the next time I’m told I have to rent a porta-john for FOUR days when I actually only need it for one day.   I mean, seriously.  Four days?  Also, stop telling me I need at least 3 of them.   It’s a wedding, not Coachella.

Fancy outhouses notwithstanding, at the end of the day, I’ve decided that if M and I walk away from this shindig as a fully fledged married couple, then it’s been a success.   I could not be happier with my choice of partner.  He’s some kind of wonderful, that boy.

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There is a fine layer of dust all around me

Posted by wendy on 2011/12/10

It’s been a while since I updated here, and really–that’s so lax of me, because years from now, I’m going to look back on this blog and think…what happened to November? And…since I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, chances are, November of 2011 will be a mystery to me unless I document it. 😉

So, without further ado, in November of 2011…

…I started a new job and I LOVE it. It still affords me the time to do my online social media gig, it’s bringing badly needed extra income into the household, and it gets me out of the house and into real, actual clothing every day. I was getting far too comfy in my jim jams, people. That had to stop.

Stoopit hair will NOT do what I want it to do!!! GRRR.

…I went home to Michigan and spent Thanksgiving with my family. I don’t even have words for how awesome that was. M flew over, and we road-tripped it up from Alabama to Michigan. Giving him a tour of the highways and interstates of my youth was so much fun. He met my Dad and my Grandma and he slipped right into my family like he’d been there all along. We left Saturday morning and on the way back stopped off to spend the day doing a bit of urbex with some really good friends of mine in Detroit. Many amazing and awesome images were made that day.

…I have watched in a bit of glee, but mostly horror as my hair continues to grow into cute little curly rings around my head. I remember people telling me that my hair would grow back curly and maaan, that made me all angsty and angry, because I have never wanted curly hair. And, I will admit now that when people said it to me, I thought “Nope. Not me. NOT MY HAIR.”. Because even after all this time, I am still firmly convinced that I can pretty much make my body do whatever I want it to do through sheer force of will. I wonder if I will ever learn that I cannot do that? I kind of hope I don’t. Stubborn optimism is not a bad trait to have, I think.

…I would like to say that I’ve been emotionally and physically preparing for my surgery next Tuesday. But, what I’ve really been doing is avoiding thinking about it.

…I have lost friends and gained friends. It all equals out in the end, and if I’ve learned nothing else this year, it is this: If it is toxic and/or makes me feel bad, I do not want it. Period.

…I have gained a very unwanted 10 pounds–I’m not going to the gym like I should, and the tamoxifen has a way of making me feel very, very lethargic. It’s frustrating, but I’m not going to freak out over it, because I know it’s a temporary way of being. I’ve started a new job, I’m taking drugs that make me tired, but, it’s only been a very short time, and I will figure out a way to work around it and get back where I’m used to being.

Time. I have like to think I have that now. It makes me smile.

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Holy crap I have a lot to say today!!

Posted by wendy on 2011/09/29

In a way, I regret starting a blog here.  I don’t regret blogging again–I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it (once upon a time, Dear Frantic Googler, there was a girl named skits who wrote a blog called Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins and she was very, very happy).  My biggest issue is the name “a little c”.  Granted, I started this so I could discuss my (swashbuckling!) adventures with cancer, and I also realize that even though this particular jaunt is over, there is always the chance that a sequel will spring up (“a little c2: electric boogaloo!”) and I will spend the next 5 years taking tamoxifen every day and having yearly PET scans and mammograms and all the other little extra things you have to do once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.  So, it’s not like  I’ll wind up with nothing to discuss around here, cancer-wise.


There is so much more to ME than breast cancer.  I feel like…if I allow cancer to overtake my online presence, if cancer is all I talk/blog/create about–then I may as well just rename this blog to THEHUGEGINORMOUSBIGCTHATSUCKEDAWAYEVERYTHINGIUSEDTOBE (dot wordpress dot com) because even if it didn’t kill me,  I’ve let cancer score the last point by allowing it to take over my life.  I swore to myself I wouldn’t let that happen.   But, my name has put me into a niche –“breast cancer blogger”.  Which…oh FINE.  Yes.  That’s what I am right now.


The internet version of me is just a snapshot. It's not the entire picture.

I’m also an artist.  I’m an explorer.  A shiftless dreamer.  A hopeless romantic.  A caffeine addict.  I like Boca burgers and dark chocolate and sushi. I believe in God, but if you send me an email full of animated doves and dancing roses telling me I need to resend it to everyone I know so they’ll know that I believe in God, I will delete it without blinking once.  I’m fiscally moderate, but socially?  I’m big bleeding heart liberal.  I voted for Reagan.  I also voted for Obama and will do so again because I think the GOP has, for lack of a better term, completely lost their shit over the last  few years.  I cringe every time I hear someone say that Fox News is ‘fair and balanced’.   I can’t discuss health care without getting super emotional because having cancer has ruined me financially and the idea that I have to choose between keeping my house insurance or keeping up my COBRA payments is abhorrent and I don’t think that’s a choice anyone should have to make.   I don’t own a soapbox, but I do keep a rental on standby just in case I need to climb up onto it.  I am a breast cancer survivor and I can’t seem to be as outraged by Komen as I kind of feel I need to be when I read other blogs.  Where is my outrage?  Maybe I spent it all on the healthcare debate.  Maybe it’s a slow burn and in a few years, I’ll explode with righteous anger.  I like horror movies.  I love books.   I hate Twilight.   I love photography.  (especially horror photography, much to the chagrin of my sister)  I like to cook and my specialty is carnitas.  I can be melodramatic and I can be the only calm one in the bunch.  I will hold your head when you vomit, because puke doesn’t bother me, but if you spit in front of me, I get queasy and you may have to hold MINE.  I only drive stick shifts.  Even when my hair was down to my waist, I wore wigs for fun.  I smell like chocolate.   I’m a mom, a sister, a daughter.  I’m a lover, not a fighter.   I’m a bitc….If I keep this up, it’ll turn into a Meredith Brooks song, so I’ll stop right here.

Wow.  I digressed from the whole “Maaaan, why did I name my blog ‘a little c’?” thing, didn’t I?  .

SO.  I could stay the all cancer channel here and start a new blog somewhere else, but I’m far too lazy to do that so I think I’m going to stick with this.  Sometimes, there will be talk of cancer, because that is something that has happened to me, and will continue to happen…but, there are lots of other c words I like.  Candy.  Caffeine.  Coke.  Chanel.  Coffee.  Chihuahuas.   Because, ultimately, this is the ME channel.  All me, all the time.  Wendy 24/7.

Stay tuned.

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