Mom: <after asking a thousand other questions> So, what are you doing today?
Me: Oh, just sitting here thinking about how my life is none of your business.
Mom: <laughing> Yeah? Come to any conclusions?
Me: That was the conclusion.
Mom: <after asking a thousand other questions> So, what are you doing today?
Me: Oh, just sitting here thinking about how my life is none of your business.
Mom: <laughing> Yeah? Come to any conclusions?
Me: That was the conclusion.
Well, it looks good to me.
Hard to tell from these things. Unless, I guess, you have schooling to figure out exactly how to differentiate one blob from another blob. There is little I can decipher ... I spent a good 10 minutes just trying to tell which side of my body was which, and I have a degree in biology. One thing I know for sure, there is way too much padding around my thigh bones. I'll worry about that later.
Final report will be back Friday.
Tomorrow is my End of Chemo Scan. It’s the scan we’ve all been waiting for. The one we’ve been running at breakneck speed toward since this all began. It is the scan that will show us whether the cancer is all gone or was just hiding in the previous test – imp that it is. It’s the scan upon which hangs so much. It’s the one that, if clean, will be framed and hung up over the toilet – because that’s where all totally awesome information goes. It is a quite significant scan because after it, after it comes back clean, we’ll be able to exhale. And you know, holding your breath for more than 7 months is quite exhausting.
There is no in-between with this scan. The cancer is gone or it isn’t. Good news or bad. Joy or sorrow. I once had a blind date with a boy who had a car with no heater. It was February. We didn’t go on a second date. I’m just saying there are some things in life you know right away. This scan will be one of those things. Each time I get one of these scans, I ask for a copy of the films. Each time the tech looks at me strangely – like the way the Starbucks gal looks at me when I order a Short latte, not a tall, grande or Coffee Maximus, sort of like I know something I shouldn’t know. And each time I say – “They usually give me a CD with both the PET and the CT on it.” and each time the tech nods. The fact that I sound confident and know a little inside scoop puts them at ease. You can get away with a lot using this technique, by the way. So each time they burn a CD with my films on it and hand it to me. And each time I burn rubber out of that parking lot so I can get home and pop it in my computer, look at slices of my insides and try to decipher if I’m alive and kicking or riding in a souped up piece of crap with no heater.
There is no reason to believe this scan will be anything but okay. Every sign points to utter destruction of the cancer. My doctor is confident. My nurses are positive. My friends are full of all the right phrases. “It will be FINE!” “It’s going to be TOTALLY CLEAN!” “You have NOTHING to worry about!” And that’s exactly what I think. I think EXACTLY all those things.
Which is probably why I’ve spent, oh about 27 or so hours looking up statistics on Hodgkin’s relapses. Because I’m so confident.
I have something to tell you.
4 things actually.
1) I have a new enlarged lymph node on the side of my neck.
2) It has gotten bigger over the past few days.
3) It is exactly like the one that sent me to the oncologist the first time.
4) Items 1 – 3 are completely false.
I know it was an evil thing to do, telling you that just now, making you feel like something was wrong when it wasn’t. It was wrong to scare you. But you know that clutch you just got in your gut? That feeling of dread? That awful pit in your stomach? I’m still feeling that every day. Every moment. Still. It’s only been a couple of weeks since my last treatment. I don’t even have a clean scan yet.
And so I wanted to tell you because, well, it may take me some time to feel good, feel okay, feel “back to normal.” And I love you for being excited about the end of treatment and I can’t wait to be in conversations with you and be able to do “remember when”s about all of this and I know it is coming – the good stuff, the relief, the ease of everyday life without cancer but I’m just not quite there yet.
When I was a kid my family would vacation in Canada. We drove there every year. No matter how many Archie comic books, no matter how many games of “I spy”, no matter how many naps, it was a long trip. So I know the agony of waiting to arrive somewhere great. Of wanting to lay in the sun. Sleep late. Relax. And I know this must be how you feel. Waiting for me. You're ready to relax, to kick back, to exhale with me.
But just like my father did so many times, I have to turn around and answer your “are we there yet?”s with a stern “no”.
Maybe take another nap. It could be awhile.
Definitions of survivor on the Web:
anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer from the time of diagnosis through the balance of his or her life
one who lives through affliction;
one who outlives another; "he left his farm to his survivors"
an animal that survives in spite of adversity; "only the fittest animals were survivors of the cold winters"
Survivor is a rock band formed in 1978 by Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan. Jim Peterik was the former lead vocalist in the band Ides of March, and co-wrote the Sammy Hagar song "Heavy Metal". Dave Bickler, Gary Smith and Dennis Johnson were temporary members, until they were replaced by Stephen Ellis and Marc Doubray.
"Survivor" in a merger means the corporation or eligible entity into which one or more other corporations or eligible entities are merged. A survivor of a merger may preexist the merger or be created by the merger. [2001, c. 640, Pt. A, §2 (new); Pt. B, §7 (aff).]
Survivor is a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It's a cynical book about a man named Tender Branson who is in the Creedish death cult. In this cult, every member learns how to be a servant for the human race—most of them are butlers and maids—and fear most human pleasures. They await a sign from God to tell them to deliver themselves unto Him, that is, commit suicide. The sign finally comes, and a good ten years later, Tender becomes the last surviving member of the cult. ...
Survivor was a television series. It was the British version of the American reality show Survivor. The show was broadcast by the ITV1 network. It hit screens in the United Kingdom in 2001, with huge promotion and hype from tabloid newspapers. The Grand Prize was £1,000,000.
Look, I know I should feel most akin to one of the first few definitions. But man, every time someone calls me a survivor I have to be honest and say Eye of the Tiger starts thumping in my head. Thank you, 80s rock band!
It seems every time I come to visit my mom it snows in Kansas City. I have no problem with that because there is something so terribly and wonderfully naughty about knowing all your friends are digging their way out of the white stuff while you are trying to decide what swimsuit to wear.
HOLLIE came down to Orlando with me for the weekend. We don’t get to see each other often – in fact, this is only the second time we’ve seen each other ever (long story, no time, maybe later). So much happened over the weekend I don’t really know where to begin. No really, I don’t. By the way, this is HOLLIE.
Although it may look like we have a similar hair cut in this picture, you should know HOLLIE really does have hair. Boy does she ever. My hair, as you can see, is getting quite long, but nothing compared to that mane HOLLIE has. She’s like one of those Lipizzaner Stallions … which can be seen training free of charge on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays in Sarasota. I know this because HOLLIE’s boyfriend told us. Not her real boyfriend, the one she apparently keeps down in Florida. We met him at the Sugar Mill in DeLand Springs State Park. Nice guy. Had lots (and lots and lots and lots) of information but I like my men with a little more … oh, I don’t know, teeth. And by “teeth” I don’t mean I like them with a little more attitude, I literally mean I like it when my boyfriends are able to chew their own food.
I’m just sayin’
But he seemed to take a shine to HOLLIE. Who can blame him? Her FULL SET of teeth are bright enough to compete with the sun.
Anyway, not to sound like I work for the Orlando Tourism Board but there really are some great things to do in Orlando and the surrounding areas THAT DON’T INCLUDE A CARTOON MOUSE OR MAGIC OF ANY KIND. And, by the way, if you're not currently IN “The Park” and are over the age of 4 go ahead and take off the mouse paraphernalia. And really, go ahead and expose yourself to something other than the Disney experience while you’re here. Not that Disney isn’t great, it’s just that I’m concerned. If you’re not careful, you’re going to find yourself saying things like “do these ears make me look fat?” Just this past Saturday, for example, we found all kinds of things to do that had nothing to do with Mickey, or any of his lackeys, including shopping at this kick-fanny mall that had all the best stores. I know they were great stores because they wouldn’t allow me inside but as I pressed my face against the glass and watched HOLLIE shopping for a 10,000 dollar tube of lipstick I thought to myself, what a great country we live in. Of course I then immediately thought of all the people in Africa who don’t have any lipstick at all and well I began to feel a bit guilty.
Thankfully a trip to a neat-o place called Jellyrolls made me forget all my cares and woes. It’s a piano bar, you see, but not the groovy, finger-snapping kind, the key-pounding, drink-pounding, fist-pumping kind. Did you know there were those kind of piano bars? HOLLIE and I sat in the second row of tables at this place. We were, however, far enough back to have a really good time enjoying the people in front and around us. And, of course by “enjoying” I mean making fun of. HOLLIE and I chose to stay sober for the evening. We were clearly alone in this decision and it was an AWESOME one. The longer the night went on the better things got for us. When I’m sober, any drunk people are funny but I forgot to mention that this particular group of drunk people were PART OF A CONVENTION OF COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS! No, I’m serious. AND also, they were INTERNATIONAL computer programmers which meant… well, jeepers, I don’t know for sure what it meant except that many, MANY countries were represented and well, can I just say, GEEK soooo translates.
At one point, we were approached by two men who had been drinking and dancing all night in this sort of happy mosh pit off to the side of the stage. They weren’t actually approaching us. They were approaching EVERYONE and we were just in the way. There was no way you could watch these two and not laugh your behind off. They were having just the best time and it made you want to have a good time too. More than once I would look over at them (and the 30 or so people dancing with them) and just shout “I’m so happy!” because that’s how it made you feel and also because I was contact drunk by this point. It was enjoyable enough just watching them boogie to Dancing Queen from afar but suddenly, they were bippin and boppin their way toward us and just as I was thinking things could NOT get any better, they waved their long drunk arms at us and said in the loudest voice they could muster (which, by the way, was very loud and heavily accented) “DANCE! YOU MUST DANCE! DANCE FOR THE GERMANS!”
We must dance for the Germans. Can you stand it?
We chose not to dance for the Germans. Not because we didn’t want to but because I had to cross my legs to keep from peeing I was laughing so hard.
This is just one of many, many stories of the night. I could also tell you about the computer guy who had a t-shirt with a working graphic equalizer built into it but really, would you even believe me?
The truth is, I’m only making this post so I can post this little gem of a video I secretly took of a couple of the people around us. I know it won’t have much meaning for most of you and because the pianos at this place were loud enough to be heard from Tampa, the sound quality is horrible but sometimes, when you have a blog you just have to post stuff so you yourself will never ever ever forget it. Much like Ebenezer Scrooge, in one night, I am forever changed.
I WILL remember Jellyrolls and keep it in my heart all year long!
I was cleaning my office today and ran across some of my cancer pamphlets. I just had to share because I know you think you know how bad cancer is but you really don’t. Not until you have to read these. As if having cancer isn’t defeating enough, these are the illustrations we cancer people have to deal with.
From “What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer”
Please note the title of the illustration “Diagnosing Prostate Cancer” Just WHO’S prostate is that doctor checking? His patient’s or his own?
Here’s another one from the same booklet. In this drawing, you can see the doctor (you can tell he's qualified by the framed pictures of dot patterns hanging on the walls) intently explaining to the man and his wife some common fashion rules like never wear a striped top with polkadot legs.
“Chemotherapy and You – a Guide to self-help during cancer treatment” dedicates an ENTIRE PAGE to this helpful illustration
I’m not exactly sure why we need to see the man shaving since as soon as chemo starts most of your body hair falls out. Perhaps they are suggesting continuing to use an electric razor during chemo just for shits and giggles.
Here’s another lovely drawing of a uh …man(?) getting ready to shoot up some heroin. Wasn't part of my treatment but hey, who am I to judge?
And of course, the picture of the woman serving her husband his own testicle for dinner. This is a Fromm Family Favorite.
Another good one below.
This picture is followed by a paragraph suggesting you can find comfort by talking to friends, family members and, apparently, androgynous strangers.
Here’s one I love. As you can see, the title of this one is “Surviving and Thriving”
Okay. I admire this publication for actually springing for photography and not just paying someone’s eight year old to illustrate it but I sort of take issue with the picture here. Surviving – maybe, but does this woman look like she’s thriving?
This is a picture of Mr. Kotter being very upset with Vinny Barbarino for, I can only assume, laughing at the illustration in his pamphlet.
And another one of my favorites,
Here’s a pic taken from the "What You Need to Know About" series, this time, it’s all about breast cancer. I guess that’s why there is a female doctor, you know, because we’re talking about boobs. I include this picture not because it is particularly funny but because, isn’t that that old lady’s bag from the prostate pictures?
Here’s the same lady later that day playing rock, paper, scissors with a friend. Breast cancer is so much fun!
The “What You Need to Know about Hodgkin’s Disease” pamphlet is pretty boring. The only illustration is this one
All I can say about this is, if you look like this when you are towel drying your hair, get yourself to a doctor, quickly!
The pamphlet about skin cancer went ahead and used real pictures of moles and such. I couldn’t look through it all without barfing but I did see this one right off.
Is it just me or does this cancerous mole with his big black circle look surprisingly cute … sort of like Petey from the Little Rascals.
The pamphlet about colon and rectal cancer had no drawings at all. Chickens.
And I was quite disappointed to see there were also no illustrations in the “How to Deal with Sexual Side Effects of Cancer Treatment” because I really wanted to see that old couple getting it on.
This next illustration of a man drinking water from his daughter’s tea-set is from a publication all about how to deal with nutrition during cancer treatment.
What cracks me up here is that this is the illustration they use on the section about coping with diarrhea. You probably could tell that before I mentioned it. It’s the crossed legs that gave it away, isn’t it?
By the way, this is what’s wrong with baggers at grocery stores these days. How can anyone be expected to get this home without losing their carrots?
Some pamphlets are about prevention, not just treatment. Like this one encouraging you to get screened for breast cancer.
The picture is quite small but very effective. Yes, it is this drawing of this woman's tit in a vise that will make me run right out and schedule my own mammogram. Also, I’m very impressed that radiologist lady can do her job what with the submarine’s periscope right there in her way.
My mom reads my blog so I can’t write what I want to write about the shape of this lady's left hand in this next one from “Protecting Yourself Against Cancer”. You’ll have to do it yourself.
There are other easily written jokes in here as well. Help yourself.
And here is a whole series from the “When a Family Member Has Cancer” publication. Some of these … I just feel like someone should be fired.
This is from the “when crazy uncle Larry with the freakishly large eyebrows has cancer” section and this
this is from the “who can I talk to about my cancer?” section. The answer here is clearly someone with something funny on their head. And this
is a bit off topic but apparently it is “what to do if your African American friend has a headache” and finally there is this picture about the family returning to normal.
And I wouldn’t want you to leave without knowing something. So in case you’d like to self diagnose and have your own microscope, here’s the difference between cancer cells and normal cells
As you can clearly see, normal cells look like plain yeast donuts and cancer cells are jelly filled. There. Now you know.
I thought for sure the publication about obesity and chemotherapy would have some awesome drawings of the adventures of Fatty McCancer but I was mistaken. Nothing but a BMI chart to help you along in that one.
"Dealing with Cancer Pain", however, didn’t disappoint
Oh boy. I’m not sure how this picture relates to cancer pain but does that kid have on a tux?
This is the title page of another pamphlet where we women are encouraged to do it for ourselves as well as our families. I’m not sure what they want us to do, I didn’t get that far but apparently we’re “doing it” for the rainbow coalition as well which now includes people without noses.
Here’s another publication that decided to use photography instead of drawings. Unfortunately, it looks like the photographer is rather limited in options for posing.
“When Your Brother Or Sister has Cancer, a Guide for Teens” has some totally awesome illustrations. And I mean that. Like this one.
Immediately after this conversation, you just know the bong is coming out, dudes.
And I will finish up with this drawing taken from "What You Need to Know About Leukemia"
You gotta feel for this couple. First the prostate cancer, and now Leukemia. Man, what are the odds?
Yesterday I bid farewell to a true blue friend.
7 months ago when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma I, like many people, was concerned about the physical changes I would go through. Most of these concerns centered around the loss of hair. Surprisingly, I was not so much concerned about losing the hair on my head – in fact, in some ways I thought it could be kind of cool – and I certainly wasn’t worried about losing hair, um, elsewhere on my body … that would just save me dollars and yelps at the spa. I was, however, concerned about losing my eyebrows and eyelashes. Why? Because, if you notice, it is the absence of these that makes anyone look weird.
Really. Have you ever wondered why GI Jane looked so cool but most cancer patients you see don’t look so cool? Apart from the fact that Demi is drop dead gorgeous, it is the eyebrow factor. See this pic? Demi with shaved head …. BUT SHE HAS EYEBROWS.
It’s the eyebrows that make all the difference.
I asked the hub to doctor some photos for me to prove it. Even with a full head of hair, look how entirely strange these people look without their eyebrows
Brad Pitt With
Brad Pitt Without
Brittney Spears With
Brittney Spears Without
Anyway, I think it is obvious, eyebrows make a big difference. So the fact that I was going to lose mine upset me. I even found a place online where you could buy false eyebrows. However, after my false eyelash fiasco that entailed me gluing my right eyelid shut, I thought I should leave well enough alone or I’d wind up with my nose adhered to my ear.
Luckily for me, the brows and lashes were the last to go. (well not the last last … my leg hairs stayed on. Can you believe that? Of all the hair you’d like to keep and it was my LEG HAIRS decided to stick around.). When my brows first started to thin, I told myself they weren’t really thinning. I was sort of in denial. Like when you convince yourself after the thanksgiving break that your jeans don’t fit because you dried them in the dryer. Even though you didn’t dry them in the dryer. However, long about the end of October, it couldn’t be ignored any longer. My eyebrows were leaving me. Once they decided to go, they went quickly. Like the rest of my hair, they got patchy. This wouldn’t do. Because I knew I would look weird without them, I began drawing them in. This is a risky business to say the least. Some days I found I looked quite surprised all day and others I looked like I was harboring refugee caterpillars on my forehead. It’s not as easy as you may think it is.
Every day, prior to grabbing the eyebrow pencil, I would check my brows in the mirror.
Oh so much thinner
In between treatments some brow hairs would be adventurous enough to try to grow back. These hairs, however, were pathetic. Thin, wispy, almost transparent. I appreciated the effort but it was sort of embarrassing. For them I mean. Pretty soon the only brows I had were made up of these shabby replacements. Gaunt, skinny, worthless little fighters. You could almost hear them gasping for air. Pitiful. However, during all of that, there was ONE LASH that stuck around. I’m not kidding. Over my left eye at about the midpoint of my brow remained A SINGLE SOLITARTY LASH so dark and thick and perfect. It stood out from its mangy wispy peers. It was strange, foreign, a little alien hair that looked like it didn’t belong. But I didn’t care. I loved that lash. It was a beacon of hope for me. I loved it for wanting to stay, for sticking it out, for remaining strong in the midst of the other thick, dark, bullshit lashes that gave up and jumped to their deaths long ago. And I loved it for not caring that it stuck out now. Sometimes literally straight out and I had to pat it down, tuck it in, remind it to lie quietly.
I was so proud, so enamored by that single hair that about six weeks ago, I looked up the life cycle of an eyebrow on google to see how long I could expect it to stay. Did you mean: find local insane asylums Googled asked me back. It took a few tries and not a small amount of searching to find the information I was looking for on Wiki.
Hair grows in cycles of various phases: blah blah blah growth phase;…………………………. blah blah blah……………… something about the regressing phase; and blah ……………or something ………………….. a lot of words about something else. Some percentages and then blah blah blah again…………… and then I fell asleep for a while and wammed my head on the key board waking me up just in time to read blah blah about follicular morphogenesis. Then……………..blah blah I had to go back and reread some stuff because wel,l I got distracted by the guy dancing for a new mortgage in the ad at the bottom of my screen and then……………….blah blah blah about the blah blah. ……………………For eyebrows, the cycle is completed in around 4 months while it takes blah blah snore noises. ……………………….. Blah blah blah blahblahblah and then the paragraph is pretty much over. Except for something about epidermal growth factor .
The most important thing in all of that is that the cycle length for eyebrows is 4 months! That means my little friend had already stuck around way longer than he should have. I knew it! My little trooper! Everyday I would check and prepare myself for his absence. But he was there. Even when my real eyebrows began to come back in, he stuck around. Last week I actually needed to pluck a few stray brows, that’s how much they’ve grown, and I saw him hanging out. Longer and darker than all the brow hairs around him. Not as noticeable as he once was, but still there. Still keeping the faith. We gave each other a solemn nod. He knew.
Yesterday, as I was checking my eyebrows in the car visor mirror and sitting amazed at how much they’ve grown and how they almost look like normal eyebrows, just at that very moment as I was staring at the brow over my left eye, my little solider came tumbling out. I screamed. I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed (although I do have to say as much time as I spend looking in the mirror at my eyebrows, the chances were pretty good I’d see this event). I gently plucked the browhair off my cheek where he had landed. I tightly pinched him between my finger and thumb. I showed him to The Hub when he got back in the car. I explained the significance of it all. The Hub looked at me quietly then slowly backed the car out of its spot and drove like a madman to the psychiatric hospital.
The end of an era.
Goodbye old friend.
A few years ago I was shopping with my sister, Carrie, in …
(oh crud, what is the name of that town in California? Aw nuts. See? This is irritating. This is the most common and most frustrating example of chemo brain. I can’t recall the name of a town and I should know it. There is no reason for me to forget it. We stayed there 3 days. There was a lot to see and do. It’s rather well-known. Come on brain. Blank. Just wide open spaces in there. Green fields with children playing. Long empty hallways. Miles of white sandy beaches in my brain. But no information. THE NAME OF THE TOWN IN CALIFORNIA! I yell down the tubes into the master computer. WHY NOT EAT SOME CHOCOLATE AND FORGET THIS EVER HAPPENED comes back. The brain is on sabbatical. On vacation. Asleep. I refuse to call someone. I know if I keep after it, it will come. I know it is there in my brain. This isn’t even a toughie … if I just keep thinking, thinking, thinking it will come. The town. The town. The name of the bleepin’ bleep town. I seriously cannot get my mitts on it. I almost have it but it keeps slipping away. WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE TOWN??? My technique to remember here reminds me of how we have to remind my mom of things. We’ll start to recall a story. She’ll say she doesn’t know what we’re talking about. We’ll say she does. She’ll find a judge, put her hand on a bible and may God strike her dead where she is standing she does NOT know what we are talking about. So we’ll repeat it until she does. And she always does. The funny thing is, we never add details, we just repeat.
You know mom, the lady at church who stood up that one Sunday.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Yeah mom, you know, the lady.
NO I do NOT know.
Yeah come on mom, the lady.
<frantically shaking her head>
The lady mom.. she stood up … that one Sunday.
You think I know but I don’t know!
Yes, You know! The lady!
OH!!! She cries … The lady that stood up that one Sunday at church! Yes I remember that, what about it?)
San Francisco. That’s where we were. San Francisco. NOW do you see what I shouldn’t have forgotten that? Okay, anyway, we were in SF and we went shopping at a little jewelry store by our hotel. In it was this magnificent ring. It had a huge butterscotch amber stone. It was so beautiful and unique and I wanted to snatch it right up. But then the lady said that it was quite rare and that made me think she was just saying that to get us to buy it which made me think there were probably many others like it and we’d find a better one. We looked all day. By the time we got back to her store, it was closed. We left the next morning before she opened. I’ve looked now for 2 years to find one like it. I cannot.
Another time I was with my sister in Detriot (oh sure, I remember DETROIT but forget San Fran) and we went to Little Ceasers to get some of that cheese bread they have. Have you had this stuff? It’s like crack – once you try it, you’re hooked. The only difference is I can’t see me whoring myself out to get money to buy cheesy bread. Maybe. Anyway, because it was Little Ceaser’s home of the Pizza Pizza, We got cheese bread cheese bread. That’s right – TWO orders because I feel about cheese bread much the same way I do about bottles of wine. Everyone should have their own. So there we were sitting in the car eating the first order of cheese bread and well, it was a little disappointing. It wasn’t quite as warm and cheesey as it can be. Carrie suggested we open up the second order to see if it was the same. Instead we waited because we figured if it WAS better, we’d be better off to save it … you know the whole best for last thing. Well, it WAS better but by the time we got to it, I was full. I only had half a stick of that good bread because I’d filled up on the not-so-good bread.
September 2001 Carrie and I flew to Russia. It was a long flight. It was, in fact, my first international flight and for some reason I always thought that on international flights the seats were bigger, less sardine like. I was wrong. The nice thing for us was that through a miraculous turn of events, we both had upgrades to first class. However, they were only good for one way. We had to decide … use them on the way there or on the way back. We decided to save them and use them on the way back. "On the way back" was 5 days after September 11. Needless to say, they weren’t exactly honoring upgrades. We were lucky to get a seat on a plane at all.
My sister is really fouling things up for me.
Just kidding. My point is this ... what is this tendency I have to delay the good stuff? It may have worked out for Goldilocks but this technique isn't producing the results I'm looking for. Why not grab what’s good when it is right in front of me. Who knows what tomorrow holds anyway?
I still can’t believe I saved the good cheesey bread and then wasn’t hungry. Man.
Happy Birthday Kiddo!
Today you are eight years old. EIGHT! I suspect every parent is somewhat shocked to realize how old their child is on their birthday. Doesn’t it go by in a blink? You are EIGHT! In some ways, it doesn't seem possible and in some I’m shocked I’m shocked. I’ve been pushing you towards eight for almost a whole year. I’m still waiting for you to glom onto the halfs and how important they are. Since March I’ve been announcing you are 7 … AND A HALF and you always correct me “I’m SEVEN, Jenne.” At Christmas I kept telling people you were “Almost eight!” and you would come back with “I’m SEVEN Jenne. SEVEN.” You even spelled it for me once, “S-E-V-E-N, Jenne.” “Thanks for spelling it. I wasn’t sure if that was the seven you were talking about.” “You betcha, Jenne!”
You are as impenetrable as that blasted hermetically sealed plastic packaging all your toys come in.
This has been quite a year for you. I’m amazed at how much you’ve changed and grown. I’m always so proud of you and your accomplishments and I just adore the woman you are becoming. You are so gracious and kind. You are so loving. I want to die when I see you run across the airport to embrace your Aunt Beek or Mommé. When we are on the phone and you ask about Sam and Julie and other friends of ours I just marvel. You are so compassionate and caring. At the same time, I laugh so hard when your other side comes through and you look at the dog and tell your daddy matter-of-factly, “Ginger is a nice dog. Too bad she’s gonna die soon.” Or when you remind us that “Poppy is getting old, you know, he’s gonna die.” How can you be so comfortable with the topic? I cringe when we turn on the animal planet channel and a gazelle is getting devoured by a lion. You don’t. “Does it bother you to watch this?” I ask. And you launch into an explanation of the circle of life that boggles my 37 (& a half) year old mind. But then again, you do that all the time. The other day while I was lying in bed recuperating from chemo I heard your father tell you it was the VERY LAST TREATMENT and I listened intently to hear your reaction. You didn’t let me down. “YAY!” you shouted, “Now Jenne’s hair will never fall out again! <pause> Unless she gets cancer again. She could you know, Daddy.”
My little realist.
But you are right. I could. And in some ways, I wouldn’t fear it as much the second time because I know you will handle it. You knocked my socks off, Kid, with how well you dealt with this whole cancer business. And I know it wasn’t easy for you. I got a lot of attention (not to mention cards and presents) that is usually directed toward you. There were so many times I wanted to just make it all go away and so many times my heart just broke like when you would ask me, “Is tomorrow chemo?” and you would sound so defeated and sad because you knew the whole house was going to change. You knew we couldn’t have bacon for breakfast because the smell made me nauseous and we couldn’t watch tv because the noise bothered me and we couldn’t go out because I was sick. You were there through the tough stuff. Through the sickness and pain and hair loss. And when I got upset and cried, “How are we going to play Beauty Shop when my hair falls out?” you responded quickly with, “Well, we’re just going to have to play Rub Jenne’s Bald Head, I guess.” And we did. We played Rub Jenne’s Bald Head and we played Build Yourself Out of Legos and Make Over Magic and Scarf Tying Class and a hundred other games that can be played from a bed. You always make me smile, Snoopy. And your perspective is just what the doctor ordered.
When you came into my life four years ago, I read every article I could find about step-parents, step-children and bonding. The general consensus is it takes as many years to bond as how old the child is at the point at which the step-parent enters their lives. So if the child was 6, it will take until they are 12 to feel bonded. You were four. That means THIS IS THE YEAR WE BOND which seems so totally and utterly ridiculous as I feel like you grew out of my own skin and I would take a bullet for you and I have felt that way for – what seems to be – ever. Bonded? You couldn’t bond me tighter to you with superglue. But maybe, again, it isn’t about how quickly I bond to you, maybe it is about when you’ll feel bonded to me.
You can take your time, honey. I’m not going anywhere.
Happy Birthday darling, impressive, funny, wise, eight year old girl. Soon to be Eight AND A HALF!
Buckets and Buckets of Love,