Friday, August 27, 2010


Last week was a "good" week. That means that I'm having a relatively normal week free of most of the side effects of the chemo meds.
(I am refusing to type chemo"therapy". There is no "therapy" to chemo; its basically poison.)

On a good week I try to catch up to household chores, bookkeeping, sorting, organizing, thinking and do some fun things like painting, crafts, and go out to do something that is outside this house.

Last week on my "good" week I encouraged my family to take me to the Fair. Ok, well lets be honest here and say that I did cry a little and used the "take the sick girl where she wants to go" card. My husband is not so keen on the Fair and my son was only eager to go once I said he could invite a friend. Whatever works. I was desperate to go see some animals, especially piggies and eat Fair food.

It was the best time ever. I spent so much of it laughing. It was the perfect way to spend a day that I felt good in!

Laughing makes me forget.

We went to a magic show. I laughed at the kids watching with huge eyeballs and smiles. Nothing cuter than watching kids amazed by slight of hand. And the poor magician was battling the heat and a stiff breeze and even he was pleased by being rewarded by the audiences pleasure. More smiles.

Then the Turkey Races. Oh lordy this was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Young turkeys let loose from a pen to chase a remote controlled truck full of turkey feed. Of course the music and announcing and the audiance interraction made it the most hilarious show ever. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I must've taken 50 pictures. Then they had a big huge ol Tom Turkey just ready for the butcher block come strutting out and make a loop round the pen and it just made everyone bust up laughing.

Then we got some big polish sausage and Italian sausage sandwiches and laughed at ourselves with the grease dripping chinny chin chins Then the napkins started blowing all over and we tried to rescue them but our fingers were sticky from funnel cake and we ended up chortling and laughing over that too.

My son got picked to be in one of the shows on the free stage and we laughed at his antics up on stage for another hour and then laughed more at the dvd we bought of the experience.

We laughed all day.

Then at the end of the day, just before going home we finally made it to the Pig Barn. Here at last were my piggies!! I just love pigs! I had a pet pig when I was a teen. Rescued from the auction house. It was a runt and I had to feed it with an eye dropper til she got strong. I named her Gertrude. I used to take her for walks. Honest to God I did!. I loved that pig. Well.....til she got big and grumpy and tried to bite me once. But thats what happens sometimes when ol girls get big and fat and lazy. They get grouchy about it. heh.

But what was special about this time in the Pig Barn is we got to see NEWBORN piggies just freshly born. It was so sweet and what a special end to the day to see those wee piggies just fresh from the mamma stumbling around making their way through the fresh shavings. Just too sweet!

I felt extra good the whole next day. I was just full of joy and felt better than I had in a long time.

I'd say laughter IS the BEST medicine!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cancerous Humor

When I found out that I had cancer, I was devestated. Thats normal. But then I started finding the hilariousness of some of the aspects of it all.

That bothers some people.

They want it to be serious and somber and I suppose kind of grief stricken. After all it certainly IS a serious and somber and grief filled scarey prospect. Cancer.

But then I just started finding a lot of it funny. Like the Chemo room and how I turned it into a party room.

Or when I had only 12 hairs left on my head and I kept wearing hats and I would tease out those 12 hairs and point them out to folks so that my hair didnt feel abandoned.

Or the night at midnight that my husband and child shaved my 12 hairs off and made me into a velcro head. And then I realized my head is shaped like a turtles. I thought I'd have a swan neck and an oval head with stately forhead. Nope. low forhead and squarish head with bump in the middle top. Of course I'd have a thick neck and a squarish round head. Goes with the short waist and square hands I have.

When I see my self now in the mirror I have to laugh. Its the most rediculous thing to see your own head naked.

I of course have week moments. I cry at least once a day. My resistance is lowered and I feel so not in control of my body, my life, my symptoms and it all is a snowball of disgustingness. But I only allow myself that 5 minutes and the rest of the day is normal, or as normal as my normal right now can be.

The funniest part of all this is the neighbor kids trying to catch me off guard so they can see the naked head. I dont wear my wig at home. I have hats on every door knob in the house and I have a scarf by my apron in the kitchen. I can jump to that door knob and slap on that cap faster than the old gunslingers could draw their guns in the ol west. Makes my son laugh every time. He likes to tease me by saying one of his friends is at the door and can he come in. I jump to knob and slap a cap on and then get mad and flustered and ask him why he let them in and then the little imp will say, "oh no, I meant IF they were going to come over could they come in?" little brat o mine. I'd so do it to him to and he knows it.

I'm trying to show people that we can still find humor in our life. I'm teaching my friends and family not to tip toe around the subject; its ok to ask how I am and then talk about regular stuff. Crack jokes and tell stories.

Or ask to see whats under that sopping wet, dripping with sweat, furball of a thing I wear on my head most of the time to make everyone forget I have the head of a turtle.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Well I learned the big lesson in the chemo room today.

Dont ask where the missing people are. I assumed the ones that didnt show were done with their sessions of chemo. wrong. The two I asked about that brought so much joy and energy to the room were not there last week nor today.

"Where is Karen today, I havent seen her in a couple of weeks", I say jauntily.

"Oh and that other lady...what was her name, oh she makes me laugh!!"

The nurse goes to the bullitin board by her desk and untacs a paper and hands it to me.

My heart dropped and I just couldnt breath for a sec. Its a copy of a person's funeral program. Karen's funeral was Sunday.

But she didnt seem sickly. She seemed so full of life.

She was a jolly soul. A real firecracker. A fiesty lady full of energy and a twinkle in her eye that you just knew was waiting for myschief. She was 60ish. She brought the sun and moon and all the stars, and a little bit o' the devil into the room when she came to get chemo.

She had colon cancer. You dont think of women having colon cancer but so far in the chemo room all the colon cancer cases but one that I have met have been women. Pretty young too. In their 20's and 30's.

Tears rolled down my cheeks and I hugged the program for a few seconds not breathing.

And then we did her right by talking about her in the chemo room all around. She had skipped a week of her chemo a few weeks ago to go on a nice vacation. She had had so much fun and she came back full of energy and joy talking about seeing all her friends and relatives on her trip.... Karen will be greatly missed.

So then I asked, "And Miss Mary?" "Is Miss Mary ok?" and the answer was that she is not doing well at all and it will be a miracle if she makes it back to the chemo room. What a lady Miss Mary was!!! SHe also was full of sunshine and encouragement. She was like the camp leader with her conversation skills and cheering us on.

I have such trouble getting an IV. Small veins and now they are collapsing and she used to shout accross the room, "Dont even think about it miss PixieLyn you just think about all that shopping you and me is gonna do later", even tho we have no such plans. She would make up all kinds of fun things to go do after chemo so I wouldnt feel so bad. She sews all her own clothes....fashionable lovely clothes that are so very nice. She came to the chemo room all dolled up. She says it is because she is determined to put her best foot forward and not worry about that its the ugly ol' chemo room. I hope the miracle happens and I see her walk in the ugly ol' chemo room again.

So lesson learned; DONT ASK and THEY WONT TELL.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prayer Shawl

Perhaps the first thing people do when being diagnosed with a life threatening illness is to turn to God. Start praying like crazy to make up for being busy and not paying enough attention to their devotions.

Perhaps bargaining and praying make them feel stronger and less helpless. It wasnt me. It wasnt in me to declare my devotion to God in exchange for my health. I also didnt "why me" it in the beginning either.

I mean; why NOT me?

I'm just a small cog in the larger machine of cancer ridden humans. It happens. It randomly happened to me. Period. Deal and move on.

For sure I wasnt about to beat my fists to my chest and start backpeddling my laxness in prayer by stepping it up and making it up to God in hopes that he'd grant me special healing powers.

The first Get Well Gift I recieved was a Prayer Shawl.

It came with a hand written prayer. It was made while being prayed over by the ladies in the gift-givers church. I was encouraged to wear the shawl and say the prayer.

I stronly feel that the time of my immenent decline in health is not my time to amp up my declaration of devotion to God while wearing a knitted shawl like some proverbial 90 year old shivering woman making supplication to God. Why would he want me NOW. Back in the vibrancy of youth is the time to make supplication to your God, not when you are ill. So I got mad at the Prayer Shawl idea.

Instead I gave the shawl to my girlfriends mother who loved the color of the shawl and she gets chilled in her assisted care living home.

My idea of making up for being busy in my life and not attending to the needs of MY humanness?
I turned to crafts. I used to do them years ago.Before I got too busy to do anything but work and sleep.

I am catching up on my inner creativity. Bringing some vibrancy and fun back into my daily living and encouraging my brain to have something to look forward to. My own kind of idea of what God would think was a good idea to do when ill. I have been crocheting, embroidering, painting and playing with this blog. I say God wanted us to be thankful and motivated, not regretful and guilt ridden.

Look forward, not back.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Every since I was diagnosed with breast cancer I have become the magnet for all things pink.
Now the thing is... I look good in the color pink and have worn pink, coral, shell and fushia pink for years. I'm talking about all knick knack bric a brack pink things. Bracelets, hats, stuffed animals, pencils, pens, pins, buttons, cups, scissors and yes even white out dispensers. People, even immediate family members come up to me excitedly and profer from their hands, pockets and purses things in pink and wait for me expectantly to ooh and ah over the GREAT coincidence that they found something to represent my cancer as a gift. Its all kind of odd.

I go to the support groups and the ladies who have gone through this sit and tell their experiences of how they have collected things to represent the years in treatments and I just look puzzled at them. I sit and think that I wish I could expunge pink from the world. Pink should be a dirty colored and not a gift to sit on my desk to shout "YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER" at me. Perhaps I'm not at the stage yet where its all a lovely glow of past pinkness.

I want bright happy crap around me right now. Yes sunbursts of color to wake me up and make me smile. Wild zebra print shoes in rainbow colors. They actually have those and my brother actually bought them for me. Not to wear.

To sit on my desk and make me grin. And they do.

I have also recieved books of hope, books of anti cancer diets, devotionals and how to cope booklets in pink covers. I have recieved offers of special zen whole body healing treatments, prayer lists and church memebership offers.

I know you are thinking that I should be grateful for the kindness and loving thoughtfulness that people are remembering me and getting me gifts of cheer. But think about this.....If you had prostate cancer? I would not go out and buy you a light blue book all about hope. I wouldnt even MENTION your prostate. I would buy you a gift card for Barnes and Nobles. I would buy you something YOU like..and ask how you are doing and if you need anything. I would not assume you like all things light blue since it is the Prostate Cancer Awareness Color. Blue undies anyone? That'll help ya remember.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Chemo Infusion Room AKA "The Party Room"

I have dubbed the Hospitals Infusion Room where the chemo drugs are given as the "Party Room' and I tell people I party there and I wear a party hat aka wig. I have long parties and short partie depending on the amount of drugs given that week. I go weekly so I needed some jokey diversion in name calling.
Today was a long party. 5 drugs in IV bags. It makes for a long day but calling it a party somehow makes it not so bad.
I am the chatty cathy of the group when I go. It was silent and ominous and most people sleep or watch the little tvs they provide. nope I'm either talking to my son or husband that comes with me or I chat to my neighbors. Time goes by faster that way.
I have also found out what is fabulously better than any high school prank called "mooning". Its reverse mooning I guess. Reverse body end. You basically have me in the passenger seat. Pull up to red light. I turn to car idling on the right and smile. Then wink. Then wildly take off wig and wave it round and round and yell YEEEEEHAWWWWWWWWW. The guy makes a horrible face like I just pulled off a limb and then turns straight and then he squeels out when light turns green. I wonder if he had night mares? I laughed until I peed my pants. Ya gotta do something insane like that just to lighten up the trauma.
I make the chemo nurses laugh too. They have one of the toughest jobs on earth. If you dont think so you just go with a friend or relative one time while they are getting chemo and watch them. They have to be angels in nurses garb I tell ya.
I like my nurse especially well. She calls me her special baby so I think she likes me too. She is amazing. She has got to be 6'2 or so. The most beautiful dark carmelly chocolate color I've ever seen in my life and she is 62! She is like a drill sargent, a mother, and a softy angel all in one. She made me cry once in barking out orders and told me she was the ENFORCER. But then she bought me a gift on her vacation and calles me her special baby so I think she is marvelous. You need someone who is harsh and makes you toe the line when all you want to do is whimper and not do any of this icky stuff at all. Then hug you and whisper to your veins that she wants to find the right vein and not have to prick me over and over.
I have the smallest veins ever. It takes prick and prick after prick. like 9 or 12. My arm looks like a blind person gave themself heroin shots and missed and missed. Its pretty traumatic every week getting blood and then getting the next day chemo.

I need all the angels I can get.