7 things you should never say to someone who has cancer or better yet…How to properly use your brain before you say something stupid to someone with cancer.

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I truly believe that people are entirely well meaning. I believe in the inherent goodness of people as a whole. (Also I believe in fairies, ghosts and that I saw Santa in a Delta terminal so take it as you will) I also believe in people’s inherent ability to speak without thinking and that much like the universe, stupidity can be truly infinite. To be kind, we shall call these instances of foot in oral cavity “brainless” moments. We all have them. I know I do. Having cancer though leaves me more exposed to the brainless moments of others, exposed like a flasher on the “N” train at rush hour. I am exposed to those people who want to say the all right things but oh dear sweet lord does it come out all colors of wrong. So I would like to dedicate the following blog to those wonderful souls, those amazingly well intentioned people who should perhaps consult with the following blog before speaking to someone like me.

#1. “How much chemo do you have left?” Oh my wonderful well meaning people, I love you all but trust me, most cancer patients could tell you down to the millisecond…to that last drip of chemo how much chemotherapy they have left. And they will readily share it. Happily. Cuz it’s kinda a big deal. If they do not share how much longer they have on chemo there may be a reason. But feel free to ask anyway as long as you like the taste of shoe leather and feet. Yum. Oh and do not be surprised if the only responses you get are a blinking of lash less eyes and the sweet cacophony of crickets chirping. You may be in for a real treat and get snarky remarks like mine usually are, like my personal favorite…. “till I die” or “for the rest of my life” or the ever popular “as long as the cancer lets me live”. Pick one, any one. I do not mean to be so snarky but that particular question only reminds me of how much this cancer sucks balls. I hate to be reminded it makes me cranky.

#2. “Why don’t you wear a wig?” or “Do you own a wig?” My question to you is, “Why? Does my baldness offend your tender sensibilities?” You don’t ask a MAN that question do you? Why are you bald? Why don’t you use Rogaine? No…Of course you would not ask that! Unless you have been recently dropped on your head and are still recovering. The truth is I own over twenty wigs. At first the novelty of it all was fun, kinda…sorta… But I have decided that wig wearing is every cancer patient’s personal decision. Some people will wear it all the time even to chemo. Which if fine for them, we all have our reasons. I chose not to wear them. Yes from time to time for fun I throw one on for an hour maybe longer. But usually I go without. I don’t like wigs. Even my lace cap was probably-made-by-fairies-knitting-gold-spun-diamond-fiber-holy-crap-that-was-freaking–expensive- human haired wig is bloody annoying. I have decided that my current baldness is a much a part of me as my big brown (I say hazel my husband says I am seriously color blind) eyes, the little mole on my nose and my crooked pinkie toes. I am bald. I have cancer. It’s all good. Besides no wig can ever look like my wild long curly hair that once bloomed from my scalp…so why bother? Also try not to remind me about my lost hair. I know it is missing. I promise it did not sneak off my head in the middle of the night to party with the neighbor’s hair. And it is not playing a ridiculously long drawn out game of hide and seek with me (because if it is no one told me and I am apparently losing). No I cannot tell you when it will come back. After chemo is over and please refer back to my answer for question #1. Honestly I really really liked my hair. My hair was rather like a first love. I forgot about what a pain in the ass it was and how it enjoyed torturing me on the days I least expected it. All I choose to remember are the good things, like how pretty it was on a good hair day, that it was long enough to cover my entire back down to my butt, and how nice it felt to be grabbed during…yeah my hair. I miss it. BUT as I like to say, better to lose my hair then my life. Sometimes that makes me feel better and then sometimes I just think this whole cancer thing pretty much blows. The following picture is my hair…this is why I don’t wear a wig…and why I would notice if it ran away.

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3. “But you look so good”…This one is a statement. But again stop it. If I tell you I feel like crap, please for the love of all things holy and all things that glitter…do not say, “Really but you look so good”. Because you know what you are really saying…”You are full of poop because you look healthy, so you cannot be that sick. You lying bald chick!” Umm..If you ask or I just happen to tell you I feel horrible then accept it and know I feel ten times worse than I am expressing. I am sorry that the only way people believe me is if I walk around looking like Uncle Fester. You know complete with dark circles around my eyes and no makeup. Therefore you are telling me that in order for you to believe that I feel like the worst kind of lousy I need to look it. You claim to be smart…do I ask to see your brain matter? I have cancer that does not mean I lost my vanity. I still like to look pretty. Or as pretty as this damned disease and what God gave me naturally can possibly achieve. So please do not contradict me. I really really hate that. I will end up shoving my remaining glitter monkey sock up your butt if you continue. In the world of a cancer patient looking good does not necessarily equate to feeling good. But I never feel so sick that I cannot smack someone upside the head to get the stupid out of them.

4. “Have you seen….insert stupid sad cancer movie here”. And speaking of smacking the stupid out of people… This ranks up there as the “oh dear lord he didn’t give you a brain did he scarecrow?” question. WHY on this good green earth would you ask me if I saw; Terms of endearment, Beaches, A walk to remember etc. Really? Really? That’s like saying hey…have you cut yourself open and rubbed salt in it and rinsed it out with lemon juice? And please do NOT for goodness sake recommend I see this movie or that. Seeing Beaches, Terms of Endearment of any movie with someone dying of cancer in a cancer flick is NOT going to lift my spirits or move me with its sweeping cinematic beauty and wonderful Oscar winning acting. By the way watching actors portray people with cancer is rather annoying. Because they really never do it justice. Take my word for it they just don’t. By the way dear well intentioned person I seriously doubt you have any remaining brain cells left to even ask such a question. Conversation should never become that desperate. Note to self I will start speaking in smaller words and slower when addressing you.

5. “Why don’t you change your diet or have you tried the holistic approach?” I know you mean well, but there are only so many vitamins I could try, or organic blah blah blah… And if you are in my position (which I would never want for anyone) you can try all the natural approaches you want. Me? I am a science girl. I will stick with the science. My chemo works for me. My doctor and his team rock my socks and have brought me to where I am today. Which if you ask me is all kinds, shades and flavors of wonderful. By the way yes dear nature girl…I have heard of a coffee enema. Umm yeah, no thanks. I would rather not have anything up my rear, especially stuff that was brewed in a coffee pot for breakfast. I like coffee. Please don’t ruin it for me because that is a something that I would need therapy to get over. And may I say, “Ewww..double ewww squared to infinity”. Ick.
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6. “Oh my so and so had cancer too and they… (insert the following): they died, they lived then got it again then died…they thought it was gone then died etc & so forth.” I too have known people with cancer and can tell you stories. I have made some great friends on many of my cancer groups that have lost loved ones to my particular illness and I actually want to hear their stories. BUT if you realize I have cancer (which I hope that you caught on from by my utter lack of hair and if that failed you noticed my huge port scar/mark whatever.. it’s ugly) and you barely know me, then please do not tell me about your great aunt’s best friend’s cousin’s brother who also had cancer but died because they caught it too late, but I was LUCKY to find it when I did. First off I don’t want to know. Secondly…there is NOTHING lucky about having cancer. There are good things that may result from it, but that is another blog. For now suffice to say keep your story to yourself. I am glad you feel you can relate. But honestly unless you are going through it, or are the caregiver or super close family member/friend of someone with cancer then you do not understand. And you know what..that’s ok. I do not ask for my friends to understand it, just support me. Love me and put up with me. It is less painful to understand. Because to understand means you have gone through it in some way and that is not something I want for anyone. You do not have to swap stories with me about people you barely know in order to relate to me. Really. I would prefer if you just talked about the weather or clown caber tossing…or the fact the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn (true fact and enough reason for me to want to move to Scotland).

7. “How much time do you have?” Geez oh petes…really? Time I have to what? Pee? Till retirement? Till my kids are in college? Till I lose my patience and end up in prison orange cause I actually did try to smack the stupid out of you and because no amount of beating could do this I end up in prison? How much time do I have? This question is rude and upsetting. It is something that should never be asked of any cancer patient. If I do not ask you how much longer you intend on being a complete and utter moron then you are not allowed to ask me how much time I have left. Because frankly I do not know!! I could be in remission tomorrow, I could die in a few months or next year, I could die when I am 98 and ¾ or I could die as pull my leg back to kick you in the shins and slip on an unseen puddle of water, fall and crack my head open. Who knows? I try not to think about it one way or another. So ummm yeah to this one I must say…STFU. Or to be polite… shut your blow hole you idiot.

I understand a compromise may be in order (fun fact of the day #2 spell check auto-corrected my accidental misspell of compromise to “come ponies” . I am beyond tickled. Now I am trying to use come ponies in a sentence. Sometimes I think I am still 5 years old. Really it takes so very little to entertain me). So yes back to my compromise, perhaps I should not be so prickly about these things. I do know that people mean well but I also think that people should use at least a small portion of their mental capabilities before speaking. Don’t you agree? Really that is not asking too much. Ok, maybe for some. I think I need to try Yoga. Find my Zen. Screw it I think I am going to find my Ben & Jerry’s and just ignore the rest.

So that’s it folks, friends and followers. Catch you on the flip. Thanks as always for delving in my little world of rants, raves and revelations.

Normal is grossly underrated. But vacations rock!

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We just came back from a week of sun, (ok it rained all week) sand (just a wee bit of it. I hate sand, sand gets all up in places that not even my gynecologist has seen) and fun (which it was truly, but my version of fun may be different than yours…remember I like chicken noodle soup and bananas. So it is all about your point of view and taste buds). But it was just what the doctor ordered.

Well not really.

You see vacations and chemo don’t really mix too well. And I am tired. Tired down to my bones, hell down to the mitochondria in my cells. But I know in my heart I am on the road to recovery. How do I know that? Well I realized it when I was more concerned over how crappy I looked in a bathing suit (who’s lying? I bawled like a baby) than how utterly tired, sick to my stomach and swollen I was. My hubby was kind about it, he always is. But really. Enough is enough. Cancer takes away so much more than just your hair. It is really starting to royally piss me off. Which is a good thing. It is bad enough that it threatens my life, I will be damned if it permanently mars my looks. In all honesty it is a heck of a lot easier to focus on the “smaller” picture i.e. my stupid vanity issues, than to focus on “will I live another year?” Because truly that is just soul-suckingly exhausting. Besides I miss the me of two years ago, she was as my daughter would say, “so awesome and cool”. At least that is how I remember the me of BC (before cancer). I could be wrong. But according to my spouse I am never wrong (of course when he says it he may mean it sarcastically but I chose to ignore that fact).

Once upon a time my husband and I used to play more interesting games like…”who is hiding a surprise”(insert lascivious eyebrow wiggle here) and the ever popular, “let’s talk dirty while you are in the middle of work and cannot do anything about it”. Oh yes how I miss those days. However now we play much more adult games, grandma approved ones in fact. My favorite being “which one of us has more swollen ankles today” or “Who can fall asleep mid-sentence first”. His swollen ankles are blood pressure related but his exhaustion is a lovely combo of he works like a dog and he has a pretty packed family life. Kids, sick wife, dentally challenged dog and a beta he swears wants to bite his finger equals a great deal for one man to handle. He is exhausted for reasons of his own which in their own way are cancer related too. So our games are not as much fun as before. God willing that will soon change. I was hoping that this vacation would recharge our batteries.

Sadly, I think I need new batteries.

You never really relax while on vacation. You try to shove so many things to do in such a limited amount of time and then add a precocious toddler to the mix and you have an exhaustion cocktail unlike any other…sprinkled liberally with some Demerol pills, yes kids Demerol is not just for childbirth anymore! (Which incidentally they do NOTHING for my pain but loads for the happy happy joy joy feelings).

Speaking of my little girl…ahhh…nothing is creepier than a child. I mean it. Children can be really scary. For example, we were driving back from my cousin’s house after a really wonderful time and our little girl is playing with some silly doll we bought her from the souvenir shop. Our son is on his Iphone as always and the little one was being a little too quiet. I look back thinking she is asleep. No, but the Barbie~esque doll is now naked. No big deal right? A few minutes later I turn around again. Suddenly the doll is now naked and headless. Our sweet little angel baby has this impish look on her face and there is no sign of the head of the doll. “Bean (not her real name of course) where is her head?” My sweet little daughter smiles at me ever so innocently and slowly pulls the head from where she had hid it and says in the softest, sweetest voice you ever heard, “Here it is Mommy”. barbie
Then proceeds to laugh. Creepily. Very very very creepily. My husband and I look at each other, silently acknowledge that our daughter just freaked us out and start to laugh along with her. I know my daughter will one day rule the world. I just hope it is a peaceful takeover.

Anyway, I just had to mention that. Because in spite of cancer, life is quite good. Life is blessedly normal in so many ways. Vacation is just vacation and vacations still sort of suck because the minute you feel relaxed and are into the groove they “POOF”…are over and you are left with the cruel bitch slap of reality right across your head. I still do not know what a bitch slap truly is and I should goggle it, but I like the mystery not knowing exactly how it is done, that way I can never do it wrong. Although I do not think I would ever put the skill to any use.

Sure I was off chemo for the week, sure I kinda resemble Uncle Fester (remember the Adam’s family?)Well that is what I look like these days…and you wondered why I was crying earlier. Go ahead picture Uncle Fester in a purple bathing suit. Here this should help..

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Are you done laughing? Yep. It is that bad.

So, sure I am tired. But honestly…my vacation was really rather normal. It was amazing. I got to see my sister that I adore, and my cousins that I love, my son spent time with my wonderful niece who is like his best friend and my husband and I spent time like a family…all of us. Not running around from hospital to work. Or not spending enough time with our nocturnal little girl or our almost grown 14 year old. It was great and not dominated by cancer. Not controlled by that sickness that takes over when we are home.

Do you know what I have learned from cancer? I used to strive to be unique and different. As a teenager I wanted to be remembered for my differences. I marched to my own song and I refused to uphold any sacred cows. But now? From cancer I have learned that I rather like normal. It’s not so bad after all. I think if I am lucky enough to find “normal” again I would embrace it like a long lost friend. I realized that just because I want normal does not mean that I ever need to be boring. And quite, quite honestly I really miss playing the “who is hiding the surprise” game.

Ahhh…I think I need another vacation…soon… but Uncle Fester is not invited. Therefore it is beyond time that this cancer hits the damned concrete.For GOOD!

Ok friends, folks and followers..that’s the latest and the greatest…thanks for reading my ramblings it makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. Catch you on the flip.

Cancer is so last season!

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Last week I received what could be super good news…but I am holding it tightly to my chest. Hard to do with my considerably sizable bosom. But it is too important to not try; besides I would not want to jinx it. So for now, til my next scans I am guarding my secret fiercely. And my heart is silently singing, completely off key of course, the praises of my awesomely awesome doctor. But good news may be coming down the road. Cross your fingers, toes, the fingers and toes of the person standing next to you…the toes and fingers of anyone you come into contact with would be completely appreciated and a true testament of your love for me. I would be eternally grateful for it all…BUT if you get arrested for crossing the fingers and toes of strangers please wait to call me at a reasonable hour. I promise to gladly post your bail.

Ok back to today’s blogfest.

As I have never had any other cancer I am putting the following disclaimer out there: I can ONLY speak about pancreatic cancer, that’s the straw I drew and that’s the cancer that is currently squatting within my traitorous body. My mother and sister both had breast cancer (and are both in remission I can happily say) so I can speak very little about that, but not with any great authority. Although I can bore you to tiny little pieces, with my voice of booming authority, if you want to hear about all the statistics on my particular cancer or how to make a really good banana cake.

First of all, most people do not have cancer for as long as I do. They do not go through chemo for years on end. They are usually given a very precise number of treatments to expect and when they can see an end, or at least a very faint glimmer of an end, to the toxic parade I loving call Chemotherapy. I cannot imagine what this is doing to my body. Actually I refuse to imagine it. I am a one hurdle at a time type of girl. We can worry about this tomorrow. Or never even. I am good with that.

Recently though I am beginning to have a very sneaking suspicion that people are actually…bored… with my cancer. It’s true. I feel somehow that I just may have fallen *gasp* out of fashion.

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When I was first diagnosed in 2011 everyone was a MESS. My family called me almost every day. They all live states away, so my family members took a turn visiting me every month. Sometimes twice a month. My friends salivated at the chance to go out with me, have lunch. (Actually they probably were salivating over the idea of lunch and not me really because that would be disturbing.) It was as if they thought I was dying or something. Ok. So maybe I was according to the doctors. BUT I never said I was dying. My plans remain just the opposite. So it is not as if I was indulging in false advertising. I had told all my friends and family that I had planned to beat this. And I am still working on that! But the calls have dwindled, the visits do not come nearly as often and I kinda think that they are just rather done with my cancer for now. Or they are done with me and my usual self centered cancer complaints. I feel like the same song just with a varying beat every so often. Even my super amazing fantastic husband seems a little tired of my cancer. He is still really great and supportive please do not misunderstand….but….

Sometimes I can almost hear a voice say…”Geez why aren’t you better yet?” I suppose it can be exhausting for the people around me. Hell I say it to myself. All. The. Time. I would love to snap my fingers, wave a stinking wand…grab Tinker Bell by the throat and shake over my head like a damned salt shaker. Fairy dust. Fairy dust. Fairy dust. Anything to make it go away and just be better. I wonder if people realize how I long for that normalcy. I would like to be better. Now. Please and thank you. So lacking the fairy dust we go through chemo. Often. Way way too often. And the cycle just goes on and on. Pancreatic cancer is kinda an all the time thing. Let me clarify. Stage IV pancreatic cancer is an all the time thing.

Even I suffer from ennui occasionally with my illness. But I have this little cruel gnome living inside me and for fun and to alleviate the boredom I let it out and play. Like when a neighbor asked me “Oh Monica what happened to your hair?” and I said looking simultaneously appalled and confused while frantically grasping at my bald scalp…”Oh my God..what happened to it?????” Oh yeah there is a little black heart beating in my great big heart. It is also the one that responds to the following question thusly, “So how much longer will you be on chemo?” Inwardly I sigh then utter my usual tart reply with my great big innocent eyes, “The doctor tells me til I die”. Blink…blink.. flutter eyelids (don’t have eyelashes cannot flutter those) flutter eyelids. I get a rather macabre kick out the reactions. Most do not know how to react and frankly I do not mind a second of someone else’s discomfort. I know it sounds cruel. I do not let them flounder for long. Of course within a moment I smile grandly and say, “Oh no, it’s ok, don’t worry. I am fine.” But honestly sometimes the question pisses me off! My husband thinks I am over reacting. He is right, I probably am. But hey, sometimes people are really rude. I don’t ask people how much longer they are going to be on a diet…how much longer they are going to be a dumbass…how much space they plan to take up and for how much longer. I know. I know. People do not mean harm with the questions. But it does get exhausting from time to time. And a girl does what she can to entertain herself.

Quick pet peeve. I have pancreatic cancer. Would people please stop staring at my boobs. Not every young woman with cancer has breast cancer. Although I think one day I am going to tell people I have testicular cancer…just for shits and giggles. They will undoubtedly look at my boobs and then look for my balls. I am going to do that this week for sure! The evil gnome within me just cackled in glee. Ok actually the cackling was entirely me and entirely out loud. I think I frightened my dog.

But yes, my cancer has become almost tedious. Friends Mitzy and Muffy are discreetly covering a yawn while on the inside they are saying, “We know you have cancer Monica, blah, blah, blah, but really that is so yesterday’s news. What else is going on in your life?” What you really hear is, “So how are you?” I do believe the very true and accurate translation for this is, “Please for the love of God and all things pretty and glittery can you talk about something else?”

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The truth is friends, folks and followers…there is not much else. My life really does revolve around my illness. And it is so self centered. I was never that kind of person. I blame the cancer. I wish it was different. Honest. I know from my blogs that it seems that cancer is all I talk about. But it is the tone and direction I decided to go when venturing out into the blogging stratosphere. Of course we have the kids, which are stories in themselves and drama and fun. Like the fact that aliens have stolen my little boy and replaced him with some hulking 6’2 14 year old behemoth. Who still vaguely sounds like he swallowed my little boy…voice changes are pretty damned weird, funny but very odd. Or my little 3 year old princess, who when asking her to go to sleep she says, “No Tanks mommy…you go to sweep you yook tired”. This little girl will one day rule the world. I know it. Maybe the universe. And The husband? Well I can discuss him forever. Like the way his check twitches when I hatch some particular witless plan. Awww… And work. My facebook statuses seem to revolve around cancer and my boss, whom I threaten with bodily harm almost daily. But they are rather interchangeable in my mind, he can be like cancer, daily exposure to him causes horrible side effects and I cannot seem to get rid of him. And…and…and …you know what? Screw it. Sure life needs to be directed according to my illness but it does not need to be taken over by it. Because I still have a life. A full one. A great one.

So I have exceeded my original expiration date provided by the first set of doctors I saw. That is freaking awesome! And maybe I psyched out a few people who were expecting my early demise. That’s right…Psych…Oh snap! (Oh yeah I am still a 90’s teen on the inside.) Oohhh snap! Oops where was I? Yes cancer does get boring. It really does. But I need to remember that there is so much else to talk about and to think about.

But I wonder if I can bore my tumors to death????? I think I need to try that one out.

Catch you all on the flip friends, folks and followers. And if you did yawn while reading this blog I hope you covered your mouth…Native Americans believed that a part of your soul would escape if you left your mouth uncovered…oh and they probably did not want to see spit and tonsils any more than the next person.

This unicorn rides a unicorn…and in other news…howdy folks

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Hi all. I know it’s been forever since I blogged. I am a bad, bad blogger and I hang my head in sheepish apology. Go ahead visualize it for a moment; it will make my contrition seem all the more real. I also had a stunning realization that a blogger with what doctors kindly term a terminal illness should not go and disappear from the blogging world without prior notice. People get funny ideas about that.

First off… I am not dead. Not even a little bit. Not a smidgen dead. Well actually……I do have some dead tumors and some are MIA. (yes I am snickering in happiness that you cannot hear) But I get ahead of myself.

I am sorry for being gone so long. In my defense; (aka the following are my excuses for my general laziness) It was tax season and my love/hate relationship with those ugly numbers never ends well. I had a few minor health issues. Minor really. Adjusting to a new chemo was more difficult than I had thought. I did it though and now I can navigate said chemo like a pro! (With an excessive amount of help from my awesome nurse, doctor, data coordinator and swellest of swell husbands). My navigation is group effort. But it works. Well. So I am happy. And life, which I totally love, like meatballs love spaghetti, social media loves grumpy cat and bananas love chicken soup..(Actually that last one is kinda a Monica thing but you get my point)…well life has a habit of getting in the way. Children to raise, a full time job to focus on, a husband to try to take care of, a household to pretend to clean and clinical trial chemotherapy to attempt to keep my drug challenged self focused on and staying within the protocols. Those are my excuses for my absence. I will try to not disappear for so long next time. I do however have such good news that I just know you will forgive me for all this.

Drum roll if you will…..

I have shown about 48% tumor shrinkage in those nasty tumors currently squatting in my liver! Can I get an AMEN? Hallelujah! Ok how about a very vigorous fist pump? Yep and yep so folks we have shrinkage! And the good kind not the kind men get after a cold swim or shower which they try to conveniently place their hands in front of themselves because hey don’t they always walk almost cupping themselves? Oh wait…I was discussing tumor shrinkage wasn’t I? See I digress so often. (I would like to say this is a side effect of chemo brain, but I would be lying. Honestly I always go off on tangents. ) But YES I have what the medical community calls partial response!! In fact my liver is starting to even look much more attractive and healthy now, almost like someone you would want to date. Soon I will have the Brad Pitt of livers. Awesomeness! This Unicorn is going to be taken off that endangered species list super de duper soon!
As one of my friends said, “The extreme joy of wowness”. That is where I am right now.

So my friends, folks and followers that is my current health news. However in “other” news….

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I attended with my super amazing awesomest of awesome husbands, my second annual Pancreatic cancer Advocacy Day. What it means in essence is that this week a whole heaping big gaggle of us descended upon our capital and meet with members of our government. Our goal? To prevent our already amazingly small funding for pancreatic cancer from becoming even more nearly non-existent. And to perhaps even persuade certain congressional members to actually entertain the notion of giving more funding to our very needy cancer cause. This is of course a very simplified explanation for what we did in our two days on Capitol Hill. But it works.

I think in my next blog I will stand upon my lovely little soapbox and tell you all the stats and science of my disease. But we can save that for later. I wouldn’t want your eyes to glaze over and drool to form at the corners of your mouth. If such a thing ever happens while reading my blog please first let me know because then I am doing something wrong and secondly please oh please take a picture of it…because that kind of stuff is pretty freaking funny!
Anyway, volunteering for this kind of thing is the most amazing experience. If anybody reading this has a chance…go out and join a cause. It would be great if it was for pancreatic cancer but if not, join any cause you hold close to your heart. It is such a life affirming thing to be a part of something bigger and better than just you alone. It is so wonderful to feel YOU made a difference. I cannot tell you what it does for your spirit. I want to make a difference. I want this nasty horrible disease I have to bring some good into this world.

It sucks moose balls that I have this disease. It truly does. I hate it. Honest I do. BUT… If some good can result from it? Then I don’t know if it is exactly worth it…I would rather have NEVER EVER had faced this monster…BUT if I can do something good with it…then maybe it is not truly so bad. So can I help other people? Get donations for research? Do some good with it???? Then hell yeah…I am willing do anything I can. Well almost anything..I draw the line at flashing people and co-ed mud wrestling. Other than that I think I am game.

There are some people that use this disease for their own purposes. Try to act like some kind of superstar. There are NO superstars of this disease. None of us are. We are unfortunate blokes who happen to be diagnosed with a crappy cancer. If we manage to live through it and survive and flourish then that is all shades of great. But otherwise? I do not strive to be an inspiration. I do not need accolades to reaffirm anything about myself. I am pretty confident. But if I can spread some joy and alleviate someone’s sadness than I am truly happy. If I can show people that having cancer does not mean the end of the world, then I have done something really good. But again it is not about me. It is about everyone else affected with this disease. It is about the next person diagnosed, it is about future generations… Sigh. Yes. There is still so much to talk about. But that is all for next week.

Till then, I will relay some sad news in another topic…I regret to inform you all of the loss of one of my precious glitter monkey socks. The Laundromat apparently either sacrificed it to the dryer gods or decided to hold my sock for ransom for a future occasion. Either way, soon enough I will exact my revenge on them…until then I am saddened by the loss and will continue in my quest for a new glitter monkey sock. They are harder to find then you can imagine!

News brief is officially over…catch you on the flip. Thanks for putting up with my nonsense and as always you rock my glitter monkey sock, sadly for now it is only one, but you still manage to rock it!

Death is NOT my BFF

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Sorry for the delay but life has a mind and time table of its own. It’s also tax season in my happy world of angry little numbers…so there is little time and lots to do.

Recently I read on Facebook someone listed the following as an occupation: “dying with grace and dignity” and I thought WTF??????? This person had been diagnosed with terminal stage III pancreatic cancer and all I could think of was, ”holy crap nuggets!!! I could really die huh?”

Selfish of me to think only of myself in that moment. Really it is…

I guess I know my diagnosis, but I have hope. No one puts an expiration date on me except God. I want to fight. I want to be stubborn, scream and yell and rail at Death.

Death is NOT my friend. I will not be inviting death over for coffee, tea and rousing game of Jenga or coed adult twister. Death is not welcome at my next birthday party and I will NOT be opening my arms to it anytime in the near future.

Therefore…screw you death.

I will not go gentle into that good night!!! (ahh one of the greatest poems ever written!) There will be nothing dignified about my fight with death. I am going to fight dirty! A huge ugly street brawl. Greased up with Vaseline and all that …I have already lost my hair so no need to tie that back…and I am going to scratch, claw, knee it in the balls.. gouge it’s sorry beady little eyes out…you name it I will fight as dirty as I can. Death will not mess with me for a incredibly long time after I am done with it!

So I simply cannot believe that someone could even subscribe to such a notion as dying with grace and dignity. How can you give up like that? What makes you turn and say, “Oh death..yooo hooo…I am ready now.”? Do you neatly fold your hands over your chest, with a flower clutched tightly in your sweaty fists and wait for death to steal your life away?

I won’t.

I refuse to.

No matter how much it hurts, no matter how sick I feel or how many procedures I must endure.

Screw you death and your friends too!

Ever have a moment, just one of perfect clarity? It’s a kind of matrix moment, where everything moves in super slow motion and all the lines are razor sharp and crystal clear. I had a moment like that sitting across my husband at some quiet Italian restaurant. The moment hung in the air suspended in amber. And I said the words,

“I don’t want to die”

I cannot tell you if I had ever uttered this particular phrase before this moment…I do not know if I have said these words since. But I know that I felt every inch of them in my heart and soul. I never wanted to put a face to the possibility and by uttering those words I felt I gave death power…a sense of truth. I opened a door to the possibility.

Sure, I could talk about a terminal illness etc. and blah blah. But somehow it never seemed real..tangible. But to actually say I don’t want to die really means that I can, this stupid disease can actually kill me. Kill me? Can you imagine? The unmitigated gall that cancer has. Ugh. Death is rude.

But those words will not and cannot affect my outcome.

So bite me Death!!! Yeah I said it. I will say it again. BITE ME DEATH…you cannot have me. Not now. Maybe not ever…so there!!!!

Because after uttering those words I saw them blossom on my love’s beautiful face…ravaging it with pain. I saw his world, our world… my world fracture into so many shards of sharpest glass. Destroyed by an enemy we cannot see. And I cannot bear it. I will not bear it.

After witnessing the pain those words wrought on my husband’s face, I chose to fight even harder than ever.

I refuse to be the cause of such sorrow. I refuse to be the cause of heartbreak. And you bet your sweet bottom that I REFUSE to be years and years of expensive therapy for my kids.

Yeah, screw you Death. You cannot have me.

Well at least it will be be only on my terms. When I am ready. When I am 95.5 years of age with my husband tandem by side and the parachute fails…that is when!

I hope you took good notes Mr. Death, you bastard, because I do not want to have this conversation with you again.

Thank you…see you in about 6 decades give or take a year.

Hero: Someone who saves lives, a comic book character or a sandwich. I am none of the above.

hero_sandwich_by_stanlydan-d39c77b

I am NOT and I repeat NOT a hero… Neither the sandwich kind with pickles and mayo nor the kind that that saves lives. I am not even the kind of hero that runs around in a costume doing great deeds while brooding about it (although I think I could rock a pair of tights and a sparkly mask). Ok not the tights so much these days. Damn you cancer cankles!!!! Damn you! My once really great legs were taken hostage by the evil Cancer Cankle! Oh Cancer Cankle…my arch nemesis!!! Wait! This is quickly getting sidetracked my vivid imagination. Let us get back on that proverbial track. Which of course I can never really find, even with a GPS. =)

Like any other fangirl/comic geek I love superman (and Optimus Prime but that is weird, slightly disturbing quirk to be discussed in another blog). But Superman is the epitome of a super hero. He is good and just. Smart and kind. Stubborn and loyal. Ahh so many great qualities. He sacrifices his life and his happiness for others. He is also in my humble opinion beautiful…in every incarnation he has been conceived in…comics, movies…Smallville. Ahhh. Sorry! Oh yes, back to my current topic. Superman is a hero. An imaginary hero.

But there are many, many real heroes in life and my life in particular. I happen to not be one. My husband is one of them; he saves my life every day. Literally. My family members are heroes even many of my friends are. BUT, I repeat, I am not a hero.

I am a cancer patient. That makes me unfortunate, not a hero.

I have stage IV pancreatic cancer. At age 37. That makes me double-damned-with-a cherry-on-top unfortunate. No heroics to see here folks.

Recently I met a man and for the sake of blogging anonymity we shall call him Joe Grey. He had pancreatic cancer but is one of the rare survivors. For some crazy, completely ridiculous reason he now thinks he is a superhero or better yet a celebrity.

He is neither. He is a twit.

This man walks around with a chip on his shoulder acting as if we all should be worshipping at the altar of his gigantic ego. I could think of a million other things to worship…including but not limited to: the regal elegance of a preying mantis…or a gently floating mote of dust. But HIM? Oh please! Just because you survived a potentially terminal illness makes you fortunate. Not famous. Scumpuppy!

I know another pancreatic survivor which we shall call Robert Braveguy. He is a hero…Why? Because he is a war veteran who fought for our country and his cancer probably stemmed from Agent Orange exposure. But if you ask him if he would do it all again knowing he would develop cancer, his answer is “YES. Of course he would.” See the difference? He is a hero. Not for having cancer or surviving it but because he risked his life for our country. His saved lives. And he would do it all over again no matter what the cost.

But you know who is really truly my hero? Other than my husband? And Optimus Prime (gosh I love Optimus)

MY DOCTOR!!!!

He is the guy who invented the chemotherapy regime I was on before and the chemo I am on now.

He is the guy who does not sleep at night because of this heavy weight of trying to find a cure to one of the most deadly cancers around.  He is the man who looks at me with sadness in his eyes every time I mention beating this cancer. Because as much as he wishes he could believe in my remission he has seen this cancer kill thousands before me and will continue to kill thousands more after me.

Of course I will beat it. I just need to prove it to him first. (Well I need to prove it to the tumors first because they are not yet aware of who is boss yet. They need to be reminded. ) I will make him proud and I will see that look of sadness leave his face whenever we speak of my future. And he will, in his glorious fuzzy slippers, dance a jig when I do.

But this Doctor, which we will call Dr. Oh so Amazing, is a real true, honest to God, hero. It is because of this man that I have lived past the 6 month mark. It is because of this man that I can still have a life of quality in which I can raise my kids, laugh with my husband and dream of pushing my employer out the window.

So maybe I won’t have that golden dream of living til my 90s with my husband by my side. It does not really matter, because the gift of every day is mine. BECAUSE OF MY HERO! My doctor. Who does not get the credit he deserves. He is the unsung hero who lives in the shadows. With him it is not just about the “cure” it is about the patient. It is about making the best kind of life for the patients who are struck down by this disease. He wants to provide an amazing quality of life for all his patients. In that he succeeds every day.

Not to be overlooked are the members of his staff. They are heroes too! They make what could be the worst and most painful process easy. Livable. Laughable. They answer my call no matter the day, time, hour or minute. They care…they also think I am a few nuggets short of a happy meal but that is ok, because I am missing some fries too.

His nurse, ummm we will call her “Sunny” she truly cares.  She gives a damn all the time not just when it is convenient for her.  Let’s be honest people in the medical field are not paid for caring. She is just as knowledgeable sometimes even more so, about my particular condition than the doctor. She keeps him in line and in check. Gosh I love them all so much. I wish I could take them into my pocket and take them home.

So Mr. Joe Greydouche is not a HERO. He is a fortunate cancer survivor who used his illness to achieve a sort of notoriety.

I am not a hero because I have cancer. Sure, a positive outlook is all kinds of great to have. When I do beat this thing 25 % of my survival will be because of my positivity and refusal to give up. (See and my husband thinks being stubborn is a flaw. Ha.) Sure it helps get me through this, but I would be nothing if not for all the real heroes in my life.

But mostly…mostly it will be because of a true hero….Dr. Oh so Amazing and his Calvary of compassionate completely cool clinical compatriots in chemotherapy.
How is that for a name for a superhero and his trusty sidekicks? Now all I need to do is convince him to wear tights.

Slippers…warm and fuzzy or frightening weapons in the hands of an expert?

In other news (not related to my Big C problem)….just a little bit ago (give or take a year or five) I was on the phone with one of my closest friends, Marie (names have been changed to protect the innocent blogging bystanders), and we were discussing the usual bits and pieces of our busy lives while trying to squeeze it into a child approved 20-minute conversation. Now those of you with children will understand that 20 minutes of phone time is a precious and rare commodity and those of you without children can use this knowledge as another form of birth control. I love my children. I love my children. I love my children. I repeat this mantra often. Like when fighting with my three year old about why underwear is not optional attire.

So it was during the course of this quick chat session that the subject of children arose. Of course how could it not when one of her three offspring was hollering in the back insisting that discussing Yo Gabba Gabba was of paramount importance. Apparently this particular episode involved the meaning of life.

As we already know the meaning of life this interruption was entirely unnecessary.

Therefore a very heated debate broke out between parent and offspring. Marie won by default because DJ Lance was now discussing why Muno looks like a dildo, how that relates to intelligent design and children’s television…the offspring were now thoroughly engrossed. She heaved a sigh and said with relief (hmmm or was it disappointment?) “At least I did not need to throw the slipper”.

Slipper you say? Well if you are of Latin decent, as my friend and I both are, you have been ingrained with the mortal fear of the chancleta, or in laymen’s terms, the SLIPPER. Yes! The fuzzy kind you put on your foot. Looking at one, you would think, this small harmless item? You fear slippers?

Well yes. Yes I do. You see in the hands of a professional this small incongruous item can be wielded with more deadly force than the sharpest Chinese star. Hundreds of Latin children everywhere are terrified of slippers. It is these children grow into adults, grown-ups that although we may hide the scars inflicted from various chancleta run ins, we still bleed inside…and twitch. If you look carefully you can see a Latino/Latina start twitching at the sight of a slipper. I know I do. Often.

In my house whenever one of us three girls got out of line my father yelled. That in itself was scary. On rare occasions my father pretended to remove his belt, which at 120 lbs was not too threatening ( believe me I have seen threads more threatening than his belt). Of course my father never really did anything with the belt but man could he yell! However to be totally honest, it was my mother we feared. As my sister was kind enough to point out, my mom’s slippers were not really fuzzy, more hard and leathery (I think I am starting to twitch…oh the horror!)

My mother was a three time gold medalist chancleta thrower. Kind of like discus I suppose, only lighter and you aim at children. And when you aim and find your mark, the sting that results from that throw can last for hours. You learn from that whack two things, one you better shut up and do as you’re told, and two, if you don’t your mother still has a slipper left on the other foot. A truly good chancleta thrower knows to throw the slipper just so that it acts like a fuzzy boomerang…it you hit the child just right, it will rebound off the body and come back to land neatly in your hand. This is definitely a skill to be admired and feared, as the arsenal of slippers is never ending. Trust me I learned the hard way to listen to the threats of my mother…

Now my point here, (not that there ever really is one) is this slipper wielding is apparently handed down from generation to generation. My friend proudly boasts that if aimed correctly she can hit two kids with one slipper throw. (I am suitably impressed) She is currently practicing on getting three at once… (Of which I think even my mother would be impressed) Of course she still has time to improve; her youngest is only 6 months old. According to Marie, she has learned that slippers are more effective deterrents than 10 time outs, 2 punishments and 8 threats. She asked me if I use it on my children…. but alas, I do not.

Why? I don’t wear slippers (they still scare me). But recently I have been thinking of starting, maybe cute little bunny ones. I could start with baby steps…And then everyone will wonder why my children have a fear of flying bunnies! Now wouldn’t that make for some interesting conversations with their future therapists?

Hmmm…Yes, I am definitely thinking of wearing slippers and maybe just maybe I will ask Marie for techniques~

Catch you all on the flip…friends, folks and followers! =) And perhaps my next blog will be…the awe inspiring plastic spoon…

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