a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Posts Tagged ‘stuff that doesn’t suck’

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.

Posted in "Not Cancer", Not Everything is about cancer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

The Tale of the Phantom Port

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/06

I noticed yesterday in the shower that I was still very carefully washing my neck and upper chest, so as not to touch the (skeeevy) chemo port that is no longer there.  Old habits die hard, don’t they?

It’s still a shock to me when I look at pictures of myself now and there isn’t a hard little round disc sticking out of my chest and I still occasionally feel a bit of a phantom pull in my throat where the port met my jugular vein.  I expect this will all fade eventually–I mean, I finally learned where my breasts are located on my body–for the longest time after my first surgery, I found myself trying to wash under breasts that were no longer there.  (Seriously.  It was super annoying.)  It stands to reason I’ll figure out my neck is OKAY TO TOUCH AGAIN eventually.

Why yes, I did make myself a shirt. Iron-on transfers, ftw!

Right now, the only real obstacle I face in the shower is shaving my right armpit–because the underside of my arm is numb (and will remain so–this is something that won’t go away since they removed all my lymph nodes on that side) and I haven’t gotten around to getting an electric razor yet, so cutting myself without realizing it remains a possibility.  I never realized how much one shaves just by feel.  The pressure of the razor against your skin is how you tell you’re doing it right and I can’t feel that anymore.  Frustrating, but not end-of-the-world stuff, so I can deal.

I’ve been pretty lucky so far with my arm.  Working out doesn’t bother it (I’m being very careful not to overdo it, as I know it’s a bit risky–but, I think the benefits outweigh the risks.  It cannot do me anything but good to build up the muscle in my arms.) and I’m hopeless when it comes to remembering not to carry my purse on my right shoulder, but it hasn’t affected anything.   I haven’t had to deal with any swelling or other signs of Lymphedema yet.  I have full range of motion with the arm as well.   Dr. Awesome (my surgeon) was unsurprised at my progress.  “You’re young, you’re healthy, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do well.”.

I’m going to just take a moment and enjoy those  words.  Cause I really love it when my doctors talk about how ‘young’ I am.

Tomorrow is the very last day of the Boobie-thon, and I am just completely overwhelmed with gratitude over how generous people have been.  I’ve talked about ‘moments of grace‘ here before, and I want you all to know I’ve had more of those moments this week than I can count.  I feel like I keep repeating myself over and over, but it’s all I know to say or do.  Thank you.  Thank you.  ❤  One day, I’ll pay all of this forward.

This is the very last Boobie-thon ever, which is such a bittersweet thing to all of the women who’ve been involved over the years–but I think especially to Robyn, the founder, and Mel, who took over organizing the thon for Robyn a few years back, and I’m sure for my Hot Internet Wife, Statia, who was the reason the whole thing began.   These women have worked tirelessly for a cause they really believe in and I think they’re amazing.  There are a few really fun contests (win a Kindle Fire or a $30 Amazon card!)  running over there right now, and you still have time to enter, so head over if you like.  Now, shoo!

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Hey, those fancy movin’ pictures are nifty!

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/04

Seriously, I should have prepared something instead of trying to wing it.  It’s never pretty when I try to wing it.  🙂  But, hey, that’s me up there, being my usual awkward self, trying to thank people and rambling on about hats and hair instead.  I am blessed with the best friends in the world, the best family in the world–and hey–I am also bless with meeting the best total strangers in the world.  If you’re reading this now, just feel free to assume that YOU are awesome and move forward with your life secure in that knowledge.

It’s Day 4 of the Boobiethon and they’re going strong over there–there’s a tweeting contest happening right now that you should totally try to win, and of course, they need both boys and girls to donate pictures.  My dear friend Pete is auctioning off one of his gorgeous pictures for me, and I am beyond overwhelmed by all of this.  I feel like I keep repeating the same thing over and over–thank you, thank you.  But, it is sincere and it is from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you.  Thank you to everyone who’s donated, thank you to everyone who’s passed my site along.  I feel so completely undeserving of such amazing support, and I look forward to the day that I can pay it forward.

I am so lucky.  I am.  I can never say it enough.  Thank you.

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I want to name this post “Winning!”, but I think Charlie Sheen has ruined that particular phrase for all of us.

Posted by wendy on 2011/07/18

EDITED TO ADD:  You can totally buy the print above at my Cafepress Store!

I actually hesitate to write this post while I’m still all giddy and high off endorphins, but hey, why not–it’s my blog, amiright?  😉  I had my very last radiation treatment this afternoon!  I’m done!  I’m done!  *dances the dance of being done*  I just so completely blown away that it’s over (and a bit incredulous, because–really?  It’s over?  How did that happen?).  I feel all invincible today, you know?  When I was walking out, the oncology nurse gave me a little pin that said “survivor” on it, and it made me cry a little.  It feels a bit like a cheat…like I shouldn’t wear it until my five years are up and I get my official ‘pronouncement’ of suvivorship, but you know–I DID survive.  I will survive.  (Oh wow, I just went all Gloria Gaynor on your asses, didn’t I?)  I’m in the next stage now.  I have to take tamoxifen for the next 5 years, but hey-I take a multitude of vitamins every morning, so I’m not feeling terribly put out by that anymore.  My onc wants to schedule a baseline PET scan for me next month, and then it’s just regular check-ups and keeping an eye on things.  OH!!  And, there is the removal of my Frenemy, The Port.  This baby is coming OUT, people.  Hallelujah.

So, there is a lot to talk about here and I’m just going to jump right in, as I cannot think of a witty segue-way from “YES!!  I AM DONE WITH TREAMENT!!” to “Hey, this is what a radiation rash looks like.”

Radiation Rash

I feel like I should have painted my nails before I showed you my rash. I also feel weird that I just showed you my rash.

I had zero fatigue with radiation, which is a very good thing.  And, I had no real effects from it until this past week when the rash sprang up.  It’s not painful, really–but, it DOES itch like madness.  I’m putting benadryl cream on it, and it helps a bit.  My skin is also a bit tender and pink–like a slight sunburn at the radiation spot.  It’s kind of funny to note that it is actually in a perfect little square section of my right breast.  When I saw the Dr last week, she pronounced my red, rashy skin to be “exactly what we like to see at this stage”.   She said it shows them that the radiation was actually doing its job and that I will continue to get pinker over the next week and a half, but then it will probably clear up just as quickly as it showed up.  (and seriously–this rash?  Popped up overnight–it was crazy.)  So, there you have it, Dear Frantic Googler.  That’s a radiation rash you see over to the  side of this post.   You can also see why they were at first concerned about my port getting in the way–and I really wish that I had pushed this issue–this is probably the most uncomfortable thing I have going right now–the skin over my PORT is itchy and sore and I have to put cream on it, which means I have to TOUCH MY PORT.  So, I’m both uncomfortably itchy AND skeeved out.  It just doesn’t feel fair at all.

Life is rarely fair, but it can be good.  Oh yes.  It can.

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Adrenaline Junkies

Posted by wendy on 2011/05/18

I should be gearing up for chemo tomorrow–it feels crazy that I’m not.  There is a part of me that cannot believe that bit is over.  I’ve got a fine layer of fuzz on my head right now, and while I realize that it will take a while for it to grow back–I know that it will grow back and I will once again recognize the girl in the mirror.

I’m having a blast in England so far.  Today is my last day alone because M comes back home tonight (he’s been off on a business trip the last few days) and I will be so glad to see that man!  It’s been good practice for me–wandering around by myself, but it’s very odd to be here in his flat without him next to me.

We did a bit of urbex around St. Crispin’s Asylum last week–the grounds are amazing and they’re turning them into condos, so I’m very glad I got to see and photograph the “before”.  There is a fence around the grounds, so getting in involves a bit of slipping through and under, but once in–it’s just a wonderland of decay and remnants of a forgotten era.  Sadly, we’d only been inside around an hour when the security guard came round and escorted us off–I’d really love for a video of our capture, though, because I was perched high on a second floor window ledge (M had rigged up a plank to get us across) like some large frightened American bird–M was completely cool and affable towards the guard, who was actually very nice (if somewhat sternly disapproving) about the whole thing.

On the way home, we discussed the adrenaline rush we both got–from both being in such a fantastically eerie spot and–let’s face it–getting caught and tossed out.  I’m a little afraid we liked that too much.  What if we turn into one of those couples who are constantly looking for the next rush?  What’s next?  Parachuting out of a plane?  Bungee jumping?!  eeek.  I kind of hope not.  I like my feet on the ground.  Well, I can occasionally be persuaded to step onto a ledge.  It’s the jump that I’ve always had difficulty with.

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Paying it Forward

Posted by wendy on 2011/05/06

This is going to be a quickie, because my Dad came down to be with me for my last chemo, and we’re all heading out into the world to see and do stuff today.

Chemo  #8 went off without a hitch and (due to mixups and denials and then retractions of denials) today I’m off to get my neulasta shot and I don’t even think an all-caps YAY could describe how happy I am about that.  My recovery is so much faster with it.  I don’t go back to the clinic til June, which means I am doc-free until the 31 (Radiology).  Hmmm….whatever shall I do with my time?  😉

I bedazzled my head yesterday to celebrate and it was a big hit at the clinic–I lost count of the number of people who took my picture (good thing I’m not camera-shy at all, eh?).  It was a bittersweet moment when my pump started beeping for the last time, though.  This bit of my fight is over, the next one starts next month–but, I think I am through the hardest times.  That’s a good–yet, really surreal, feeling.


So, after the clinic, we went to my favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner, and had a really lovely meal, all chatting and with me a little bit on cloud 9, I think.  But, the most extraordinary thing happened when our bill came–we all grabbed our fortune cookies (mine was yet another what I like to call “observation cookies”, because “you are full of grace” is not a fortune, that’s just VERY VERY TRUE. ) (What?).  My Dad wanted to buy dinner, so as he was pulling out his credit card, the waitress came by and took the bill and passed Dad a handwritten note.  I’m kicking myself for not remembering the exact quote right now, but it was essentially about the healing power of God–it was just a really nice little reminder for all of us, I think.  So we all read it and smiled (because hellooo, what timing, right?), but then hit HIT US.

Whoever sent that note PAID OUR BILL.  And left.  We have no idea who it was, our waitress was all smiles and completely mysterious (I think she enjoyed the whole thing, too).  You know, it was just the perfect way to end my chemo, I think.  A random act of kindness from a stranger to all of us.  It was marvelous.

I have so many friends who are of so many different faiths–I like to joke that “all my bases are covered” when it comes to beating cancer, because I pretty much have all the major religions behind me–and a few of the non-major ones as well!  😉  I feel blessed on all levels, you know?  I have friends who pray for me, I have friends who don’t pray, but send me love and good vibes across the cosmos, I have friends who light incense for me, and yesterday, a total stranger said a prayer and bought my family lunch.  With all the horror and anger that we’re faced with in the news every day, it’s easy to forget how many amazing, wonderful people there are on this planet.  I’m going to make an effort NOT to forget that again.

My sister gave me a copy of “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra, and there is a chapter devoted to giving and receiving.  Essentially, it’s about giving everyone you meet a gift–whether it be a flower, a compliment, or a simple silent blessing or prayer that they receive happiness in their lives.  It’s my favorite chapter in the book, and I read it often.  Because every day that I wake up is a gift.  Life is about love and sharing.  And, I am alive.

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I woke up at 5:30 with poetry in my head

Posted by wendy on 2011/03/21

No, really.  I totally did.  I mean, I have been meaning to write that Ode to my port for a while, and this morning, I was inspired enough to try a few different styles of poetry.  I’d considered eeking them out over a period of time, but the chances of me remembering this stuff are pretty small, so we’ll just have a poetry round-up right here, right now.

First up!  The Official Ode to my Port.  I really wish I’d thought ahead and just made that font a bit more flowery.  Just pretend it’s super scrolly and that there are butterflies and unicorns prancing around in the background, ok?

Oh! Port–my port
My left arm
free of bruises
asks me to send you


I’ve decided that since this mentions “breeze’, which is nature-related, that this is totally an official haiku.  Please do not call the Poetry Police.

hard tiny round disc
you have made chemo a breeze
yet ruin my neckline


This is a senryu about my port and a bit of an homage to my surgeon.  Aren’t you totally impressed that I know the difference?  Helloooo, I was  privy to the Santa Monica poetry scene for a super long time!  I know things.  Poetic things.

installed by Amish
flash some skin, but just a peek
cleavage is evil


Lastly, I have an offering of free verse for you.  It’s totally angry and aggressive!  I feel like I was channeling my inner 14 year old when I wrote it and frankly, I feel this piece would be much better as a live performance piece than just words on my blog.  I’d wear a black turtle neck carry a clove cigarette that I wouldn’t smoke…I’d just let it sit in my hand and burn, baby, burn.  Then, I’d flick into to floor as I was finished and you could all snap for me when I was finished and IT WOULD BE AWESOME.  Oh yeah.  I’ve thought about that one.  What?

alien tech under my skin
hook me up
shoot me up
make me sick to cure me

I really need a little pink diary with a tiny padlock so I can furiously scribble my angsty poems into it, don’t I?  Oh wait.  I don’t need that, because I have the internet.  HA!  Speaking of, I totally did decorate my port.  I meant to put a green stem up to my neck, but I’m actually still skeevy about touching that line.

It's CHEMOFLAGED! ahahahaha.


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