Monday, January 28, 2008

"FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!"

The above misquote (it should actually be "America, fuck yeah!") comes from the movie classic, "Team America," by Matt Stone and Trey Parker of "South Park" fame. The reason I pay homage to this movie is because there's a certain "je ne sais quoi" surrounding this quote. First of all, it was just this weekend that my dear hubby, for some inexplicable reason, walked around our house saying "America, fuck yeah!" In spite of the mystery behind his new tick, I found it beyond hilarious--so much so that in the midst of my fourth core biopsy this morning, I thought of him saying that and burst out laughing as the huge-ass needle was being inserted into my tiny boob. The ultrasound technician said, "Are you okay?" Clearly, I'm not.

Alright, then.

So the rest of the connection comes from the flurry of American activity and influence in which I have been engaged over the past week. And I'm not talking about how I watch the U.S. presidential race in pain from across the border. Here are some photo and video highlights.

Lisa saves the day! As I previously posted, my hellish day in O'Hare ended on an awesome note when I told the lovely airport people to just send my ass to Pittsburgh (rather than my original destination of Harrisburg), where I was graciously picked up by Lisa and Larry. Here are me and Lisa in Mifflintown!

Bonjour, Madame! Lisa and I had some bites and beers with our high school French teacher, Pam, pictured here with me. Lisa's mom Vicki also joined in the joy and goodwill.

Here are Lisa, Pam, and me, saying "Au revoir!" and see you soon.

The next day, my sister Hanh and niece Stevii came for an overnight visit. Stevii, Lisa, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing Scrabulous on Facebook, while Hanh looked over our shoulders so that she could "help" us. [FUN FACT: Lisa's dad Joel was Hanh's teacher at Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School, where he infamously kicked over a desk one time and scared the bejeezus out of my sister. To this day, the mere mention of "Mr. Cunningham" causes my sister to cower in fear.]

The next morning, I greet my niece with kisses, as her mom kissed my head with her bright red lips just moments before. You can tell by Stevii's crazy hair that we had a wild night of IM'ing.

Here's me and my not-so-little nephew Tyler in his newly purchased house. He's so happy to see me!

Now, this is one of the proudest moments of my life...I made front page of my hometown newspaper! Yes! Carol Smith, who's a high school pal of my sister's, interviewed me during my visit home. She was super nice, and the article is just freaking awesome.

Page Deux of the article.

Finally, the day before I headed back to Vancouver, it was my nephew's 22nd birthday. Twenty-fucking-two years old. I used to change his diapers. Anyway, my sister said she had not one, but TWO, Big Macs right after giving birth to him. So even though Tyler was not there to celebrate his birthday with us, we honored him by eating Big Macs and fries.

That was probably the most awesomest time I ever had in Mifflintown. Perhaps the cancer crap has helped me put things in a new light, especially concerning where I came from and all that cheesy stuff. But it was pretty cool to see my family and spend time with them. And as I told my cousin Kris, the next time I go to Mifflintown, I'm either going to be hot or pregnant. Cuz if I'm hot, then I'm not having anymore kids. If I'm less than hot, then sure, why not. I mean, you know, there's got to be an upside to all this, right? And with this perspective, the glass is always half full.

So, a couple days after I returned to Vancouver, my funny girl Irene came to visit from LA. We all love hanging with Auntie Reenie. Here are a couple pictures of the silliness, taken with Chloe's cam:

Auntie Reenie and Chloe hamming it up, after spending hours braiding Chloe's ponies' hair.

They turned the camera on me after Chloe placed her horse on my head. I'm really happier than I appear.

After Irene went home today, I had my fourth biopsy. Good news--it was hard to find any evidence of cancer. However, there was one tumor that appeared on the ultrasound, from which they took four samples. I have an appointment with my oncologist tomorrow to discuss my future. And this Wednesday, I begin radiation. Twenty-five treatments. FUCK YEAH!!!! Let's burn the shit out of the cancer.

So now I'm just trying to enjoy the return to normalcy, if there is such a thing at this point. Of course, I'm also freaking out a little about how that normalcy will be taken away yet again in April, when I have surgery. But my outlook on life is pretty good for the time being, and for that, I am grateful.


Friday, January 18, 2008


Yesterday morning, I began my trek home to Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. I have been so excited for this trip because it's been a year and half since the last time I was there, and also this is the first time in seven years that I've gone there by myself (without the little darlings and their father). Let me tell you what--THANK GOD they did not come along. I should have known--traveling at this time of year sucks ass, especially when you have to make a stop in freakin' Chicago.

I think I heard about ten times yesterday at O'Hare that Chicago is either the busiest airport in the world, the largest airport in the world, or both. In any case, add inclement weather to these claims, and you get to spend some time in hell.

I didn't see any horrendous weather myself, but there were apparently high winds which caused most of the flights to be grossly delayed or canceled. So, after a very lovely and pleasant flight from Vancouver to Chicago, I arrived to find that all was still well with my flight to Harrisburg. Then suddenly, the flight was delayed an hour and a half. Soon enough, the flight was delayed another hour and a half AND they changed terminals. I don't know if you've ever been to O'Hare, but when they do some shit like change terminals, it means you gotta run about 5 miles to the other terminal. So then I'm waiting around some more, went to the washroom, came out, checked the monitor--and the flight disappeared! I went to another terminal where there was still one flight to Harrisburg posted, and sure enough was told that my flight had died after all.

So then I was put on standby for the last remaining flight to Harrisburg and was told that if I didn't make it on this flight, the earliest I could catch a plane to Harrisburg would be 6pm the next day. And I'd have to pay for my own hotel room, thank you very much.

Things weren't looking good. The flight I was on standby on kept getting delayed more and more, just like my original flight. So then I thought, fuck this, I'm going to Pittsburgh.

My BFF Lisa was planning on driving to Mifflintown the next day to see me anyway, so I figured, shit, might as well go with her! So luckily, there was room for me on the next flight to Pittsburgh which was leaving....oh shit--boarding now--in yet another terminal. So I RAN my ass off and made it just in time! Phew! My bag, however, would have to wait for the flight to Harrisburg.

Luckily, I packed all the meds I could with me on my carry on (except my magic mouthwash for my mouth sores, which I checked in with an ice pack because the container was too big), so I wasn't really missing anything for the night.

And I was soooooo happy to see Lisa and finally meet her good friend Larry, who is a sweetheart, really nice guy! So things worked out in the end. We went to Eat 'n Park, and I had the best breakfast meal of my life: two poached eggs over corned beef hash and potato pancakes! Yum!

Now, Lisa's at work, and I'm just chillin' in her pad. We stayed up last night watching some cheezy, hilarious home movie we made over 10 years ago.

You know what I would hate? If someone was hanging out at my house and taking pictures and going through my things. But Lisa and I are long-time friends, so I hope she can forgive me for what I'm about to show you of my morning so far at her pad...

"Hello? Can someone get me out of here?"

"AAHHHHHH!!! Someone cut the cord and must be on his way to kill me!"

Thank god I have Jesus to save me.

Maybe if I hide behind this curtain, he won't be able to find me and get me.

Or I could practice self-defense with this fake fist.

No way! A ladybug sock monkey! Sweet--I'm sure this will help me against the raging lunatic who cut the phone cord.

Forget the raging lunatic...He doesn't stand a chance against me and Lola.

I love Lola. Like, a lot.

Hee hee, I'm hanging out with different circles.

There's a ginormous lighted snowflake falling on my head.

When in doubt, raid Lisa's closest, wear one of her coats, climb on her bed, and take a sultry picture.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sock Monkey Take-Over

I felt a little playful today, as I was trying to get a bunch of stuff done before I head off to PA in the morning. I thought, hey, it's kinda funny that I have an evil sock monkey hat and a sock monkey cotton hankie that I sewed myself. So here's a little fun foto thing for you:

And now, I will be recognizable around Mifflintown when I'm there, since this is all that I'll be wearing. Be on the look out for my knit horns--and offer me a bag of Hartley's while you're at it, will ya?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weird Middle-of-the-Night Pics

I'm awake and wired and weird. That's what Dexamethasone does to you. Here's something you might never see again for a while--me in a bikini. I had to make it all artsy to justify posting it, so I changed it to a pencil drawing in Photoshop. Enjoy, pervs.

And this is my creepy shadow of me taking a picture of myself on the stairs.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I had my last chemo today. Last night, I told Dude that I hoped that they would give me a certificate because I read somewhere else that some cancer agencies do that when you're finished. Alas, no certificate. But the Nurse Ruth did say on our way out, "Oh, wish we had a certificate for you!" And I didn't even mention it at all anywhere to anybody (except for DH). I was like, "Hell yeah, you shoulda." But I didn't really say that; it was more of a thought-bubble and a hiss to the hubster on the way to the elevator.

BUT I'M DONE. Hopefully, forever.

I was even let off the chemo pill that I was taking in combo with the infusion. The doc didn't seem to think that at this point, it was doing much. So I was cool with that.

In a week, I'll be off to PA, and my family can see how fun cancer is.

So anyway, at the moment, I'm tired, exhausted, but can't sleep. Steroids. Gotta love them. I'm on sleeping meds too, and other things, but still, can't sleep.

Mom, Dad--got your message--will call you tomorrow. I'm fine--at the end of this crap and the middle of getting better.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


A couple days ago, I lost my glasses. What happened was this: I settled into my bed for a nap, put my glasses on my laptop which was also on the bed, woke up, went back to sleep, and when I finally got out of bed, my glasses were gone. When Dude came home, we looked all over for the glasses. He took the mattress off the bed, and I peered under it, but couldn't find them. I looked under the bed. I looked under all the beds in the house. We thought maybe I slept-walked and put the glasses somewhere, anywhere. Still couldn't find them.

It really bugged me that I lost my glasses. It was also like I was losing my mind. Lately, I've been a lot more forgetful, to the point where we have a rule that I'm not allowed to light candles without DH's supervision (not that I came close to burning down the house or anything, but just to be safe). But also, my glasses kind of really define my face now that I don't have hair, especially lacking eyebrows and eyelashes. And they are the pair of glasses that fit my face best. I like the other ones I got, but I save those for special occasions or when I feel like looking a little different. In other words, these particular glasses that I lost were the most comfortable to me on many levels. I liked the way I see out of them, the way they felt.

Today, for some strange reason, I felt compelled to get down on my belly on the floor of our bedroom, and look at the tarot books that are on my bedside table and shelf. I haven't looked there in a while. I found the decorative cloths that I bought at the shady thrift store last month. I must have stuffed them down there, thinking that's where they belonged. Then I remembered that I was going to use them for my tarot readings. This led me to realize that I still haven't done my 2008 tarot reading. I've been hesitant because I have a bit of trepidation about the future and all that. But I feel the pull of the tarot, that it will help me bring new perspective to my life. Then I just happened to turn my head slightly to the left, and lo and behold: my lost glasses! They were lying under a rolling bag where I keep all the cards and letters that people have sent and given to me since my diagnosis.

I felt that this was some divine intervention at work. I myself don't belong to any organized religion, but I do believe I am guided by spirits and such. The whole ordeal of losing my glasses and the weird way in which I found them led me to think that someone was telling me that I need to change my perspective--the way I see things--get out of my comfort zone for a while, get out of the rut that I've been in for the past month and a bit. Then I thought of my brother-in-law, who passed away in July from lung cancer. At his memorial service, they handed out little buttons with his trademark white glasses on them. That's all the buttons had on them. His white glasses. People knew him by his glasses. In some way, I felt like perhaps he was delivering the message to me.

Anyway, I was so happy to find my glasses, and in the way that this temporary loss has turn out to be mystical for me, I've become motivated again to keep living and being thankful for the life I do have.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Collars and Colors

My kids are awesome. Why? Well, we went to some friends' house for an almost-2008 get-together, and seeing Dude dressed in a crisp white golf shirt and khakis brought out the teenage rebel in me, compelling me to dress like this:

And neither Chloe nor Mylo questioned it. They didn't say, "Mama, what's with the dog collar around your neck?" And you know, the rose on my Harley Davidson t-shirt was kinda pretty. They just went with it. But I think DH was a little embarrassed, but he couldn't find anything to say. That is, until we pulled up to our friends' house. He turned to me and said, "My friend's sister is in there." Now, I don't know this lady. I figured the only people in there were all people I knew. And I'm not teenage rebel enough anymore to present myself to strangers with an S&M dog collar around my neck. So I took off the dog collar and tucked it inside my purse that said, "Precious and Important" on the outside.

Anyway, turns out the people I didn't know were tired and went to bed early. So I brought out the dog collar. Now, these people are totally straight, nice people. The freak factor is pretty low with this group of friends--not like some of you shady-ass mofos out there. But I love you all the same.

But they wanted to see the dog collar, so out it came. Their kids were amused. But not amused enough to hang around and watch me read tarot cards, when they could be playing Playstation. So off they went. I'm just another old weird person to them.

So this is the thing. I read folks' cards for 2008. But I haven't read my own yet. My ritual/tradition is to do it before the year makes another turn. So I already broke tradition. Of course, you could understand why, I'm sure. But today, I will read the cards. Better 3 days late than not at all.

One thing that I know for sure about the future: my hair will grow back. And when it does, both Dude and I are going to dye it some fucking rad color(s). He and I had a discussion about the whole "going bald for solidarity thing," but what we decided is that we'd rather celebrate the regrowth than to make a statement about the chemo poisoning. I can't say he wholeheartedly agreed to dyeing his hair, but now he can't really back out. Besides, he will be the raddest/baddest looking prof on this side of the continent. So cast your votes, folks! What color(s) would you like to see the prof and his better half have on their heads?

Here's to 2008!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Going Home to MTown!

The thing about people with cancer is that they're sometimes prone to spontaneity. It's kinda like you're thinking, "Shit, I better do this now cuz who knows if/when I'll be able to do that again." On the first day of 2008, I was obsessed with that thought. So finally, I decided it's been too long since I've gone home.

Of course, since the kids were born, trips home have included the whole family. But school is starting next week, and even though they're three and four years old, the kids have lives of their own which I don't want to interrupt. They really like going to preschool, ballet, and all the other stuff. Henry will start teaching as well. And really, I kinda wanted this to be a short trip by myself.

And now's the time. My last chemo is next week, and soon after, I will start radiation. Once radiation starts, I can't really go anywhere for five weeks (not like I'd want to, I've become such a homebody). I really miss my family and want to see them, so I'm off to Mifflintown Jan. 17-23. If you're in the area, come see me! Let's hang out!

I'm excited to go home, but also part of my heart wants to stay at home with the comfort of my kids and husband and bed and massage chair. But I'm sure they'll do fine without me for a few days.

So to the country it is. Back to the fatherland.