Buying Time

I should have died in January. Then in March my number was up...again. My oncologist had tears in her eyes and all my nurses kept walking into the infusion room looking at me like I was already dead. The pity. "Nothing is going to cure this" my doc said. It wasn't news to me. I've been tearing through drugs and treatments like tissues during the climax of Steel Magnolias or Beaches. Take your pick.  Don't get me wrong.  This isn't a miracle post. I got them mother fucking tumors all through my bones, dancing around in my liver and now waging a war in my lungs. But unlike most, I get to go out (mostly) on my own terms. I get to decide when I fold my hand and I get to decide where I die, who is there, hell I'm planning the soundtrack for the luncheon after the funeral. Everything from Edith Pilaf and Sinatra to Guns 'n Roses and Kenny Rogers. Oh and of course, my beloved Tay Tay, In March my liver hurt a lot and I spiked a really high fever. I was admitt

My Necrotic Ovary

It’s a good title for a grunge song, right? “My Necrotic Ovary.” Belongs as a lyric along with the other mediocre lines in “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Yes, mediocre. “A mosquito, my libido.” These words changed the face of music in the 90’s? Give me a break. At any rate, it’s not of importance cause no matter how I try, I only hear the music to “My Funny Valentine,” when I sing, “My Necrotic Ovary.” I haven’t written in a while. Not that there hasn’t been a lot going on.   There was and is the pandemic. Unprecedented and all that - home schooling, masks, gloves, Lysol, toilet paper, vaccines, Delta variant, etc. We got a COVID dog. Penny. She’s a French bulldog and her name on the adoption website was Paris. Would you have expected anything less from this Francophile? She’s perfectly flawed with a crooked jaw, a tongue that hangs out, deeply affectionate and pissed on our dining room rug so many times we had to get rid of it. Not the classiest French lady. Maybe she’s French Canadian.

There Is No Cure

I don't believe in a cure. I'm not sure I have ever said that out loud or admitted to that belief, but it's true. I don't think there will ever be a vaccine or magic pill to cure us. I do hope, not believe, but hope, that there will be a medication that will let us live chronically with breast cancer. Something akin to the meds for HIV. But no, I don't believe in a cure. I don't see myself at 70, because the reality is, I won't see 70. And yet, I am not without faith. Whatever that word may mean to each of you. I live with faith. I don't attend church, and frankly I don't care for it. I will pray and talk to my given "God" on my own terms and my own schedule. I don't need to dress up to speak to that "God" and I don't need to chant biblical sayings to be in my "God's" good favor. (Our father, who art in Heaven...) To be clear, I bear no ill feelings for those who attend church, temple, pray in a mos

If I Knew Then

I hate myself. Loathe may be a better word. I loathe myself, but I'm not talking about my human being, my soul, my character. I'm talking about my appearance. I wish I had looked in the mirror more. I wish I had been more aware of my beauty before it all. I'd love to backtrack my life. I'd love to backtrack my body. You know, the old adage - "If I knew then what I know now..." It sounds very vain, but until you've walked this journey, please don't judge. My hair is never coming back. It's brutally thin. I wash it only once a week and never comb it because the hair just pours out in clumps. The first time, I had chemotherapy for four months and then my hair started to grow back. Now I take a chemotherapy pill everyday and will for the rest of my life, or until there's a cure. My hair is never going to rebound. I paint on my eyebrows. I search for lashes upon which my mascara might adhere. Granted I barely ever have to shave my legs.

It's My Birthday

Today is my birthday. In truth, it's my daughter's 10th birthday. Every year since she was three, I have watched my only daughter, blow out her candles and consume a cupcake for breakfast. It's the annual, birthday breakfast of champions for the O'Brien children. Seven years ago, on Elin's third birthday, our snot-nosed (literally - you should see the photo), daughter asked to eat one of her, prepared-for-preschool, cupcakes for breakfast. It was a simple request. As upstanding parents, who don't feed our children desserts for breakfast, we responded without hesitation. Uh, hell, no. The cupcakes were for daycare and it would be ludicrous to let her to eat one for breakfast. I'm not sure how it happened. It may have been outwardly expressed thoughts of my husband and me. Perhaps they were words telepathically sent across the kitchen. I may have protested. Maybe my husband protested. I have no clear recollection. But somewhere in that kitchen, in

Let me tell you...

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month.  (Just in case the pink on the NFL field didn't make that clear.) November 6th will mark my seventh year battling this disease.  My husband and I "joke" that I have been sick nearly half our marriage (15 years).  We're taking that "in sickness and in health" vow to heart. Let me tell you about my husband. He is the WORST gift giver.  At the beginning of our marriage he would gift me with moo-moos from Kohl's.  And then after A LOT of wife-y education he once decided to give me diamond earrings for my birthday.  Thing is, I was wearing my grandmother's diamond earrings, which my husband accompanied me to the jeweler to reset and which I wore on our wedding day, when he gave me those diamond earrings.  He does NOT get birthdays or anniversaries or Christmas.  If I want it, I send the photo and a VERY unsubtle email/text to my husband - these are my sizes, favorite colors, GET ME THIS EXACT IMAGE. Let me t

Move On

Here’s the thing… I know I should be grateful.   I’m alive.   I say that to myself, 90% of the time.   I am grateful.  I’m alive. The other 10% of the time, I am mad as hell.   This is my second time around. So, yeah, I am bitter. Here’s why... Cancer - I gave you everything the first time.   I shaved my head like a boss.  I endured dose-dense chemo. I worked a full-time job throughout treatment.  I sucked up a double mastectomy. And then another surgery to remove all the lymph nodes on my left side. Did I mention the five weeks of radiation?  Or the loss of my first reconstructive breasts, t hen prosthetics and then reconstruction AGAIN.  CANCER, I gave you everything the FIRST time.   Screw you, cancer, for thinking you can come back and take any of it again.  And yet you try. You try to take my bones and my liver. And everyday you steal my hair.  And I cry in the shower as my hair washes away and I am left with maybe 25