Fifty Shades of Grey

So my mother wants me to go see this with her.  Yes. You read that right. My mother.  I have no interest in the movie. I had no interest in the books. I’m not a prude, exactly. I just don’t like bad literature. Life is short and there is plenty to read without feeling the need to read something just because everyone else is.   Hearing it described as porn for middle aged women did  nothing to pique my interest.  Actually I had never heard of the series at all until my mother told me about it.  Her friend had recommended it.  She was sharing this bit of information as we were in the elevator on our way to chemo.  And her description of this literary masterpiece continued through the usual 30 minute wait, my blood draw, nurses visit and 4 hour chemo treatment with a short respite while my doctor was talking to me.  She got more and more animated in her defense of this book series (though I had said nothing beyond I wasn’t interested in reading it) until she was throwing around words like “erotic” with wild abandon. Keep in mind there is only a modicum of privacy in the chemo room in the form of curtains. Curtains which are made of ordinary material, not sound proof foam or titanium steel, and she was not using her inside voice.  I couldn’t help but notice the television sets on either side of me kept getting louder and louder and soon the words “come on down” “erotica” and “you are not the baby daddy” were becoming all jumbled in my head.  I couldn’t run away at this point because I was tethered to an infusion pump.  Blissfully the massive dose of Benadryl started to take effect and I was just on the edge of consciousness when the massive dose of steroids kicked in and I sat up with a start.  Now I was wide awake but too tired to defend myself against the onslaught of a bad literary review. Fuck.  Soon a nurse who was passing by heard my mother’s one sided conversation about Fifty Shades and poked her head in the curtain to announce she was reading it too and OH EM GEE isn’t it GOOD?.  Note to self: make sure this nurse is never in charge of pumping poison through the small opening in your chest.. her judgment is suspect.   At the end of my treatment she bade us a cheerful goodbye and gleefully told me she would be thinking of me when she read 50 Shades that night. I deadpanned..”Please don’t”.

My mother has tried to get me to read the books a few more times and will vehemently defend them, even in the absence of any criticism.   So. Fast forward to the movie opening.  She is determined we are going. I am determined to jump off the George Carter bridge to keep that from happening.

Actually I read recently that people are going to show up in “fetish wear”. She has no idea this is a possibility. I may take her just for the comedic material it would provide.   I’m also planning to tell my 84 year old father who loves WWII movies that this is about 40s Germany and promises lots of action.  Why not?  Doesn’t hurt to keep my ticket to hell updated.

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Bits n Pieces

I haven’t blogged for a bit. Life is pretty much back to normal. We have had a few household projects, the main one being redoing my office. I should say transforming my former junk room into a workable office space. It was one of these rooms that anything I didn’t know what to do with would get dumped in.  I had one small bookcase groaning under piles of books and more piles in every corner.  This summer when we redid the bathroom we sacrificed the office closet and that left us with some extra wall space, which is now sporting new bookshelves. I spent all weekend sorting, dusting (good Lord where does it all come from?) and re shelving books by author and genre. I made room for some of my sister’s books as well (she got two whole shelves!) and even parted with a small stack of my own (baby steps… I have a hard time letting go of books). Found homes for all the assorted “stuff” and organized my workspace.  I now have a combination library/office and the best part is I actually had the energy to work for two days straight instead of a few hours at a time and then having to recuperate on the couch.  At my last oncology visit I was told the chemo was all out of my system and I’m finally starting to feel like that is true.  Just a little post chemo weirdness though.. my eyebrows fell out again.. not all of them, but they became noticeably thinner and now have returned. My eyelashes completely fell out twice since returning.  I wasn’t aware that could happen but a little googling tells me it’s not that unusual and it will likely happen a few more times.  My fingernails never peeled or got terribly discolored though  that is a pretty common side effect of the chemo I was on. I kept them short and with layers of polish to keep them strong. Now, however, I have white lines in all of them and one thumb nail looks bruised.  All of the nails are peeling but from underneath. As long as I keep them polished they look fine.

I just realized tomorrow is the anniversary of when I discovered the lump that got me into this mess.  Maybe I’ll bake a cake. Or have a drink to celebrate.  Actually I probably should celebrate the fact that I found it.  Or not.  Most likely, not.  My doctors haven’t use the words “cured”,  “cancer free” or “NED” (no evidence of disease). I’m not sure when or if I will ever hear those words before the 5 year mark (countdown started after I finished treatment and began Tamoxifen.. so five years from September, 2012).  I have my first post diagnosis mammogram scheduled for November 12. Maybe I can get a little Ned out of them then.  I am prepared to be told there are changes from last year. I should hope so considering I’ve had surgery and radiation since then. Unfortunately that won’t make it any less scary to hear, I’m afraid.  And if the radiologist utters those words, regardless of what the changes are my doctors are obligated to follow up with more tests and then I get to wait on results again. I’m starting to get that I won’t feel free of this for many, many years, if ever.

I am flying for the first time since surgery this upcoming weekend. In preparation I visited the Lymphadema Clinic and was fitted for a sleeve and glove.  My doctors never said much about the need for this but I requested a referral. I was sent to P.T. where I was told compressing the arm if I’m not already having trouble would cause more harm than good (makes sense). Since I had heard that women who previously had no problems did when flying I asked if I could have a sleeve just to bring along as insurance and promised I wouldn’t wear it unless I needed to.  The physical therapist agreed and set me up with the Clinic.  At the Clinic I was told I HAD to wear the sleeve when flying because once I had problems they wouldn’t go away.  She then proceeded to explain all about lymphadema.  Who needs that!?   I have had no problems at all, but I only had one lymph node removed and I’ve been pretty diligent about exercising the arm and following as many precautions as I can.

 
In other news, I’ve finally narrowed down my tattoo to 3 choices.  As of this weekend it was 4 but I decided against f*ck cancer in a fancy script.  As I’m going to be a grandmother, that would be unseemly.   I know I’m a bit off schedule having insisted I would get one before I turned 50, but I couldn’t commit.   I’ll be in Austin next week. Where better?

These are the 3 top contenders.

The forget me nots in honor of my sister.

This means Survivor (too cliché?)

Care to vote?

Speaking of voting… robocalls are the devil.  We have one registered Republican, two Democrats and an Independent at this address and we all voted early since we will be away on November 6. These calls are driving me batshit crazy!

Just had to get that out.

Grit and Grace


Last night we saw the Glen Campbell Farewell Tour at the beautiful Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine.   The show was opened by two of his children who are part of a trio calling themselves Victoria Ghost.  The three of them, along with another son (the drummer) are also part of his band.  Amazing talented offspring.   If you were not aware that Glen was suffering from Alzheimer’s you might think he had had a little too much to drink. It made me sad thinking about how many times he may have humiliated himself and his family before the diagnosis, how many fans may have turned away, at least temporarily. With the help of teleprompters he remembered most of his lyrics. When he got stuck the audience would sing along or he would turn to one of his children.  He mentioned he was in Portland, Maine at the beginning but then kept giving shout outs to Portland, Oregon.  To be fair, I’ve seen other performers make mistakes like that, simple slips of the tongue that can be expected when you wake up in a different city every day.   I have to admit, before I saw him,  my cynical side was wondering exactly who this tour was for. If he was so far gone into his disease, how could it be for him? Would he even remember?  Were his handlers just trying to make a few more bucks off this legend while they could?  Seeing how his family cared for him on stage and how genuinely happy he was to be there dispelled all of that.  His kids and the rest of the band handled his gaffes with humor and grace. They gently brought him back to the moment.  He joked around about his memory, he teased his daughter and was wife who was off stage.  He just beamed with pride at all of them.   He sang all of the favorites; Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Gentle on my Mind and some I hadn’t heard in years like Where’s the Playground, Suzie?.   Two that were really powerful were True Grit (he claims he made John Wayne look so good he won him the Oscar!) and It’s Your Amazing Grace.

True Grit

One day, little girl, the sadness will leave your face
As soon as you’ve won the fight to get justice done
Someday little girl you’ll wonder what life’s about
But other’s have known few battles are won alone
So, you’ll look around to find
Someone who’s kind, someone who is fearless like you
The pain of it will ease a bit When you find a man with true grit

One day you will rise and you won’t believe your eyes
You’ll wake up and see, A world that is fine and free
Though summer seems far away
You will find the sun one day

It’s Your Amazing Grace

Everything I have in this world
I give it to you
Everything I see in this world
I see it through you, oh yes I do

You’re all that’s in my heart
You’re all that’s in my head

You know I believe this
That your amazing grace
It’s your amazing grace
Yes it is

I hold my head in my hands and I cry
When I think of you
Amazing grace
Keeps us together

You’re all that’s in my heart
You’re all that’s in my head

You know I believe this
That your amazing grace
It’s your amazing grace
Yes it is

I hold my head in my hands and I cry
When I think of you
Amazing grace
Keeps us together

When I started this blog, the first thing I did was seek out blogs of other women going through breast cancer. There were many. And then I found blogs of caregivers, men with cancer, mothers blogging about their children with cancer, women with cancers that are largely ignored while they are constantly  bombarded with breast cancer awareness.  I cannot start my day until I check in and read what is happening in their lives, how they are doing with treatment or how life is beyond treatment.  They run the gamut from heart wrenching, funny, inspirational,  uplifting, sarcastic and cynical.  One thing they all have in common is true grit and grace and I’m so happy I’ve found them.