I mean doesn't that just look like posts are going to explode out the top of my bald head? That's where the magic happens, my friends.
That's where it happens.
That pic doesn't even look like me anymore. I'm just sitting here staring at it and I'm completely amazed at how different I look now.
Sure, the head is shaved ... but it is more than that.
I need to change that picture.
Who makes those timelines that run when you are loading a program or opening something or copying something on your computer? You know the one that has that bar that fills in with hash marks and there is the running clock underneath that updates to let you know how much time is left? You know what I’m talking about? The box that pops up to show you how much time is remaining. The one that rapidly fires between:
14 minutes remaining…10 minutes…47 minutes…1 day 12 minutes…5 minutes…22 minutes…10 seconds. What possible relevant information is that giving me???
And that bar that fills in has NO RELATION to real time. It takes 4 minutes to fill in one tenth of the bar and then 80% of it fills in in a matter of a millisecond.
WHAT IS WITH THAT BAR?
And I think the thing that drives me the craziest is that I sit there and watch it. It’s like a bad marriage. If I only pay attention to it and believe it will give me something accurate and good in return maybe it will.
The next time that bar pops up on my screen I’m just going to walk away.
I want to get something off my chest here. I’d like to take a moment to do a little education. I feel like it is important for me to tell you things that you may not know. I tell you these things because I care about you and probably you will at some time in your life encounter another person with cancer and I want you to be fully aware of some things you may be saying or doing that perhaps make a person feel like they want to run you through with a sword. I know it is not your desire to want to make a person with cancer want to pluck out your eyes and dance a little jig on your sightless head so I’m going to go ahead and point out something that you might be doing that could be a little, oh I don’t know, annoying. Here goes …
You may not realize this but not all cancer is the same and not all chemo is the same. Each cancer has its own chemo – that means the drugs, dosage and regime are different depending on what cancer you have and what stage cancer you have. I don’t mean YOU of course, I’m certain you are cancer-free.
Why do I point this out? Because I’d like you to stop telling me that your So-and-So had chemo and he/she didn’t have ANY side effects. Or that Who’sHisToes that you work with has cancer and didn’t lose any of his hair. Or that the lady who picks up your dry cleaning at the same place as you do every other Wednesday had cancer and chemo and she’s doing GREAT! I know you mean well by it but it really isn’t the same and I have to be honest, it sort of makes me feel bad about myself.
“So-and-So had chemo and had NO side effects whatsoever.” You say beaming. To which I want to reply “Well let’s give So-and-So a chemo medal!” and then kick you in the shins.
I know. I’m bitchy sometimes.
Okay so there it is. All cancer is different. All chemo is different. Even when two people who have the same cancer are put on the same chemo, they respond differently. And just like you wouldn’t tell one friend who has a small business of his own that your other friend with a small business of her own is doing great and why did he have to lay off 12 people in his small business? You really shouldn’t tell one person with cancer that another person with cancer is doing great and why shouldn’t he be doing great. There. Now you know. I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of heck for this as it sounds like I’m being ungrateful and after all you are just trying to be nice and supportive but so be it. I have a built-in excuse for being that way. I have cancer.
What should you say if you have some really great info or stories? How about this: Oh man. That sucks. I’m truly sorry for what you are going through. I have a thousand stories I could share or tell you and if you ever want to hear them let me know because I know other people with cancer but it isn’t the same and I’d like to just listen to you for a while, if that’s okay.
Maybe something like that would be good.
Or if you have some really great info, just send it along. I have wonderful friends who have put ideas and input into emails and sent them off to me. They start the email with “for what it is worth” and then they put the info. This is a brilliant way to pass along information. That way I don’t feel obliged to respond.
Like I said, I’m just trying to help out here and keep you from being set afire by a chemo patient who’s heard one too many comparisons. You gotta watch out for those chemo patients. We’re an angry lot.
Chemo has side effects. Every person responds differently so there are lots and lots of potential problems you could have. Some are more annoying than others. Few of them worry me. I mean they are somewhat bothersome in the moment but all in all, they are temporary and therefore not so upsetting. Except one. One of the potential side effects of chemo is terribly upsetting to me. Chemo Brain. I know it sounds like a hip new dance but really there isn’t much good about it. Apparently, there can be cognitive effects from chemo. And I don’t mean good cognitive effects like I’d be able to suddenly do logarithms or solve that really hard problem at the beginning of Good Will Hunting. No, the cognitive effects can be negative. Basically what were talking about here is I have a chance of getting dumb. er. Dumber.
I say dumber because I really think this is starting to happen to me. I think I’m losing brain power. Yesterday I forgot my mother's first name. Two days ago someone told a joke and I didn't get it. This may not seem too upsetting but it was a knock knock joke. Everyone gets knock knock jokes. And today, just today I forgot where I parked. I was at home. If you are one of my clients and you are reading this you might want to consider hiring me on retainer and not hourly as soon it could take me 4 times as long to find the elevator. I’m just sayin.
My oh-so-helpful friend Julie started keeping a list for me last night of evidence of Chemo Brain. She’s keeping the list because when I voiced concern that I’m starting to forget things and starting to not know things she said “what things?” and I suddenly couldn’t remember anything I’d forgotten or couldn’t think of what I couldn’t think of.
And yes, that made it on the list.
Then in an effort to make me feel better she said this:
“But you know what? You are so smart that even if you lose 10 .. no! 25% of your intelligence you would still be like a good 75% smarter than half the people out there!”
“I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!” I wailed. Why in the world would you present that sort of calculation to a person who is concerned they are losing cognitive function? It was like being transported back to 6th grade math and a train had just left Los Angeles traveling at 100 mph and was heading to the state hospital where I’ll have to reside when I am reduced to wearing Gar-animals and sorting my food by colors because I’m too dumb to remember words like “vegetable” and “side dish”.
So she drew me a picture. You can see she lowered the percentages and dumbed it down a little for me.
Is it just me or does that brain look a lot like Africa? (It is Africa that looks like that, right?)
I have 22 email drafts in my email drafts folder. They are all ideas for posts or posts I've started and not finished.
I tell you this so you'll know that although I'm quiet, I'm VERY busy.
Years ago when I was digging through a storage box I found a tube of lipstick. As soon as I saw it laying there next to a pack of matches and a detectable bra strap I yelped with joy. I recognized it IMMEDIATELY. It was The Lipstick. The one lipstick I had found in my life up to that point that was perfect. It was the perfect color, the perfect consistency, the perfect size and it didn’t smell. I’m very sensitive to smells and you’d be surprised how hard it is to find lipstick that doesn’t stink. Which you’d think they’d put more attention toward what with it being right there under your schnozzle and all.
This lipstick unexplainably worked in all occasions. I wore it with jeans and with formal attire. I wore it to work and out dancing. I wore it on Saturdays when I was cleaning the house. It was, simply put, perfect. But then the unspeakable happened. Somewhere along the way, I lost that tube of lipstick. At first I thought it was just misplaced and I would find it in a pocket or a purse but after many, many, MANY weeks of searching under car seats and in jacket pockets, I resigned myself that it was, indeed, lost. Or more likely stolen. Lipstick that good is pretty precious stuff.
Next I set about trying to replace it. I looked in drugstores, department stores and even stooped as low as going to a mary kay party to try to find its equal. i tried glosses, stains, sticks and pumps. I mixed colors together. I lined and filled and applied a hundred different shades but never was able to recreate it. I bought tube after tube of lipstick. Only to be disappointed later when the color was wrong or the wear was weak or it smelled like someone had buried a sweat sock under a chicken coop for three days. In my opinion. Even though I was able to find something similar, I was never able to replace it.
And then …
The day arrived when I – finally – was cleaning out a storage box and lo and behold there it was. Imagine my joy. YEARS had passed and I never believed I would ever know the same level of confidence and contentment as I had when I wore that lip paint. And then suddenly here it was again. I, of course, immediately ran up the stairs to the nearest mirror uncapping and untwisting all the way. I got to the mirror and slowly wiped my upper lip … then my lower lip with The Lipstick. I rubbed them together. I took a step back from the mirror and looked at myself.
It looked awful. The color was COMPLETELY wrong for me. It had no shine. And it smelled. That’s when I realized … things are never as good as you remembered them.
This weekend my friend Rob, who I haven’t seen in 8 years came to see me.
It was nothing like the lipstick story.
Thanks for the visit, Buddy! It was awsome to see you. Come back soon!
“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
John W. Gardner
Separates the victim from reality. That's powerful.
The other day when I was trying to figure out how to post the quick video of me shaving my head, I uploaded the video to YouTube. Eventually, I decided to just post pictures here and not video.
I sent out no links to that video. Only uploaded it. That's all.
Today there are nearly 5000 views of that video. 5000. That's how many people were in my hometown growing up.