Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Treat your butt right!

For those of you out there who have had a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, you know that your poor butt goes through a lot. Scans, colonoscopies, irregularity, obstructions... none of it is easy on your poor butt.

So I suggest you treat your butt right! Give it a little something special, something to let your butt know you still care.

And there is nothing that a deserving colon likes more than precious metals.

Go on. Click. And make your butt the happiest butt on the block.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Greetings, friend! You look like you may have cancer!

Yesterday Scout and I were waiting in line at the PetCo in North Beach (50-90% off! Store Closing! This location only!) and there was a woman in line ahead of us with the tell-tale bald head a homemade knit cap sticking out of her jacket pocket. I wanted to go up to her and say something supportive. Something to let her know that she was a kick-ass cancer fighting hero. But what opening line could I use? "Excuse me, I notice you are bald and have a knit cap that someone clearly made with love. You look like you may have cancer. May I offer a supportive hip-hip-hooray?"

Um, no.

So what's the appropriate way to do this? Perhaps there isn't one. Perhaps just because I've been through cancer it doesn't make it any of my business.

Maybe we should have a secret handshake. Or a gang sign -- maybe a hand in the shape of a "C" over your metaport scar. Yo.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Did The Wizard of Oz scare the crap out of you, too?

Twice in the last week I've used the following metaphor to describe my cancer experience:

"It's like I'm a tree that's been picked up, spun around and plopped back into the ground. Now I have to grow roots again."

I think it's good to be spun around every now and again. I have to figure out where to put these new roots, how to stand up again. It makes me live a bit more consciously, go forward with more thought and care.

All this spinning makes me think of tornadoes and tornadoes make me think of Dorothy. She was picked up, spun around and plopped down. And what happened to her? Well, it was both good and bad. She got awesome shoes, made some good friends and eventually came to realize how good she had it at home, after all. But she also had witches and flying monkeys and opium addiction and power hungry wizards to deal with. And she had to murder someone. An evil someone, yes, but murder still has to weigh pretty heavily on your mind, right?

When I first saw Wizard of Oz I was enchanted but I also remember it scared the crap out of me. Cancer also scared the crap out of me. But I did buy these boots the other day, so maybe it'll all work out, just like it did for Dorothy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Reaching a goal, only 14 short years later.

Many years ago when I finished college and finally had my first real job I decided to go into therapy. During our first session my therapist asked me what I wanted to get out of our time together.

"I want to be centered. I want to be calm and centered and happy."

Those years of therapy didn't quite get me there, although they did point me in the right direction. But today I realized that I have finally achieved that goal. I won't go into details, there are others involved who probably don't want to be blogged about, but I was calm and centered and happy in the midst of a storm that would have capsized me those many years ago. What great comfort and such a relief.

Ah, progress. Sweet, sweet progress.

You can swim, ride horseback and even play tennis!

It's sort of like after a break-up when "your song" seems to be played everywhere. A small incision that re-opens the wound. You cringe, feel a moment of deep sadness and then move on.

For me, it's tampons.

Yet again a woman leaned over to me today and whispered in a girls-only conspiratorial tone, "Do you have a tampon?"

No, I don't have a tampon. Because I don't have a uterus. Cancer took care of that. No uterus, no period, no tampon.

I feel a tightening in the back of my throat. I want to cry.

"Sorry, I don't."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nitty Gritty

I haven't been posting very much lately. I know. There is an explanation, although it's not a very pretty one.

I'm confused. And depressed. And mopey.

And I've been hesitant to blog because I don't really want to write some long dirge about me and my sad self. But I suppose this blog is meant to both help myself and others in similar situations. And if I'm feeling blah, there's probably others out there feeling blah as well. So, I will write both for personal catharsis and hopefully to act as company for others in misery.

I'm confused. Not about anything in particular, just general existential angst. What do I do now that I'm done with this horrible process? I don't feel like the same person as before I was diagnosed. I'm changed by this -- physically, mentally, spiritually -- but I don't feel like I've had enough time yet to get to know the new me. So I feel adrift. Like I've been teleported into a new existence and although I may look the same and talk the same something has shifted profoundly. It's like invasion of the body snatchers, cancer-style.

And depressed, which I think stems from feeling somehow alone in trying to negotiate this new me. I know that when am really intertwined with others (people, animals, nature) I am always filled with serene delight. (Okay, that sounds really granola, but hopefully you know the feeling I'm talking about.) This depression is the opposite of that. My thesaurus just told me the opposite of "serene delight" is "turbulent discontent" which pretty much sums it up.

And mopey. I just seem to be sighing a lot and wanting to watch lots of TV. Embarrassingly bad TV. And, no, I won't tell you which programs. You'll just have to use your imagination.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My year is New. How about yours?

As a tutor, I get a long winter break. Ahhh, relaxxxxing... I love that part. But then, soon after New Year's, I get that familiar back-to-school depression that we've all felt.

"But, I don't waaaaannnnna go back! You can't make me! I *do* want to watch TV all day for the rest of my life and no, I would *never* get bored. I promise."

But, alas, there are bills to pay and impulse items to buy. And I like my job way more than most people I know. So, I'm back. Helping with college admissions essays, reading Aristotle's views on dramatic tragedy, and discussing the Manifest Destiny. Not bad for a day's work.