Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chemo Class

I'd recap the day, but have a hard time believing it's been just a day. Or that the last month has been just a month, I feel disoriented, like I went for a short drive and in 10 minutes wound up 1,000 miles from home. I'm not sure sure how I got here, and barely recall where I came from -- normalcy, I came from normalcy or my chaotic version of it. But now I'm plunked smack dab in a foreign land where nothing adds up {even with a calculator}. The new norm is no norm.

I started the day with grumpy boys and no milk in the fridge and a 7:40 a.m. meeting with the Oncologist to discuss "the plan" with my trusty note-taker who's missing work for this {thank you CA}, next thing I know I'm meeting with a social worker discussing my kids and why I haven't seen my father in 10 years {she approves, I'll skip the adjective} and then I'm touring a chemo facility and scheduling appointments for a two hour Chemo Class on Friday where I get handouts of all the impending conditions that should spur me to the emergency room. Then I'm making an appointment for next week to have a port surgically placed under my skin wedged into a vein.

I finally get home, shower and meet a friend who also needs her driver's license renewed so we do that {thanks DH} and while there, Griffin texts, he wants me to pick him up at school, he's not sick, he just needs to be at home. but I can't pick him up, usually I drop everything to accommodate, but i can't, there's too much to drop and the sound of smashing would be too long and loud, so he gets home on his own and wants to go out to lunch with me, I'd love that, it's been our little treat when he's off, but Jonah has school, but what exactly is he doing home today? This place doesn't work like the old place where Griffin goes to school without a second thought, he goes to school sick because he doesn't want to ruin his perfect attendance record. I can't go to lunch because the clock is ticking and I have to get into the studio to get a little work done, because I got a big wholesale order which is great, and there are a few stores I need to stock up so I at least have some consignment checks coming in but not much gets done, because Jonah's school bus will be coming soon. My car tires need air.

It's Wednesday, Dad's night, so Jonah's supposed to be at the after school program, but he's too stressed, because in this place, he doesn't like school anymore and has chosen to come to work with me instead until pick up time... so back to the studio because it's farmer's market night and the gallery is open. In between rushing around, I'm receiving birthday wishes and small gifts which seem surreal, birthday? what does that mean?... irrelevant, does not compute.

Even less so because the only ones who don't know it's my birthday are my own children, because their father never tells them... not even when she's cancer-mom... it doesn't occur to him to take them shopping even for a card, no, that would entail an effort, forethought, inconvenience, it might require a conversation with them, no, he likes to get home and pop a cork and relax. In fact, while it's his weekend coming up to have the boys, he's asked me to have them saturday night because he needs to unwind "burn off some steam" with men from work, scotch and cigars.

I'll be reviewing my cancer class notes, no time for scotch and cigars for me. This is a strange place I've landed. Need to fill those orders, but I'll be working all day Saturday in the Gallery, and next week holds a follow up with the genetic counselor on Tuesday and surgeon on Friday, oh yes, and that minor surgical procedure on thursday which I'm told will knock me out for a day. And that big wholesale order which is swell and makes me happy, but I've barely produced anything in a month and how do I fit in work around all these appointments when the school bus keeps coming at 2:45?

I went out tonight and it was fun, so little time until i'm immuno-suppresed but then I came home and so many phone messages and emails, another Craftopia in little more than a week... details, details, so much to do and chemo starts two days after Craftopia, two appointment filled weeks and I really just want to go to the Apple store and get my iPad because that's my happy thing, but when? when am I going to get there? and how the fuck did I get here?

As I was out tonight, I had a margarita and pretended it was summer. It's not summer. In this crazy place I feel fine, I've rarely felt better, my blood work is perfect, I'm healthy, I want to meet a man and go on a fun date, hold hands, put my head on his shoulder. Small things, simple things, and it's my time, I'm fine, I'm in the game like everyone else, living my life, except that suddenly I'm not and I have to go to chemo class.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Float

Free floating anxiety mounting. I feel like I'm made of glacial water... cold, cold, shiny water and the structure might slosh into a puddle at any moment. I find myself sitting, paralyzed, just trying not to disintegrate, all the while I know I have things to do and busy is better. Knowing and doing are two different things.

I loathe free floating anxiety because you don't know exactly what it's about, so don't know where to direct your energy to assuage. I guess it's the feeling that everything is out of control, that I can't keep up. I'm hoping the planning meeting with the oncologist helps... maybe I just need a plan... maybe the waiting is worse. Except I know chemo will be even worse than that, but maybe routine, any routine is better than all this thrashing about, running this way and that, meetings, tests, results, maybe i was less anxious during all of that because i was too busy.

Maybe the known, even if awful, is better than the unknown... when all of this started I was finally settling into a long-anticipated new routine... maybe I still need that... some semblance of routine.

This morning I shoved a tear stained 10-year old out the door towards the school bus, because it's art class day. The most creative soul I know hates art class, it stresses him more than math does. "today is going to be a horrible day" makes my heart hurt. When I tried to gently communicate this to the teacher last year, asking her to keep an eye on him, see if perhaps there were any way to mitigate his stress {and I rarely get involved in micro-managing the school stuff, I leave it to the professionals, but the poor kid was just going to pieces}, she responded by promptly calling him out into the hallway in front of the class and saying "your mother says you hate art class, why do you hate art class?". This art teacher, high and mighty with her PhD who insists she be referred to as Dr. was not a whole heck of a lot of help.

So maybe I should choose to worry about that today... focus my anxiety so that maybe I can do something about it. Or maybe I'll keep obsessing about how much I hate 3d movies, how much I would have enjoyed HUGO, if it had just been in good old fashioned 2d or 1d? what the hell?... does this make me an old curmudgeon? I don't think so, 3d is a bad, bad, profit driven idea, we should Occupy 3d... maybe I'll think about that today.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Heart

I have a good heart. Literally. I have the scans to prove it. And now my tips of the day: Hugo is a really good movie, but skip the 3D and Homeland on Showtime is a really good show, watching with Griffin is my current guilty pleasure. Love Damien Lewis.


Last month I went to my 30th HS reunion, it was too surreal an event to pass up. I pretty much blew out of town {suburban NY} 30 years ago and never looked back. It was only many years later that I realized what great friends I had and how I didn’t value them, lumped everything in with the awful which was my family and my teenage angst {which lasted a bit longer than my teens, I’m afraid}. Most of the names and faces on the Facebook page I didn’t recognize, but a handful of folks had been on my mind for years and I wanted to see them, acknowledge them and also catch up with them... see where life had taken them. And I felt good about where I was in my life. I felt, maybe for the first time, really clear on who I am, uninterested in impressing anyone or being anything I’m not... I am what I am what I am, and that ain’t so bad.

A simple, yet eye opening moment of realization came with the ease of just tossing a sleeping bag, toothbrush and change of clothing in the back of my car and taking off, just me, unencumbered by anyone else's stuff, needs, snacks, drinks, activities. Sweet quiet in the car and my own choice of tunes. It was a rare weekend where my pending-ex was willing to keep the kids for not just a whole weekend {rare enough}, but a 3-day weekend.

It can take me a long time to make up my mind, but when I do, I’m all in, and that’s how it was when I had babies. When I fall in love, it’s all the way in love and I’m steadfast and true, maybe a little too much so and I’ve never been in love like gazing at my baby's face. I should have balanced things better, kept a bit for myself, but for 16 1/2 years it’s just plain been all about the kids. Well, sans the past 4 or 5 when I finally had to start getting out and about a bit... taking a few classes at RISD and starting my business, all in the tiniest, incremental steps, it’s only in the last 2 years or so, it’s become as consuming as it is. But once the school bus comes, I’m all theirs and so traveling, taking more than a few hours for myself is something I’ve forgotten how to do. I’m at their beck and call 24/7 and more often than not have to leave work to bring something forgotten to school or run some kid-centric errand, to which I never give a second thought. I’m their mom, all in.

So having a change of scenery was breathtaking and I felt empowered, I felt healthy, I felt energetic, I felt good. I had a lovely time at the reunion and staying with friends, even managed to hook up with some college friends on the way home which was really, really special.

I felt optimistic... about this new stage of life, about letting go of my kids every other weekend and feeling excited instead of sad about that time. I was going to start travelling and ticking off my list of friends to visit in other places. Adventure time.

It’s so incongruous that all the while I had cells in my body dividing madly, surreptitiously, and as healthy and good and powerful as I felt, I was horribly sick, my body going haywire trying to kill itself. We all obsess about each ache and pain... is that headache a brain tumor? What’s with the tingly feet or achy wrist, the swollen gland, likely nothing... we’re used to worrying about our symptoms... I didn’t have any symptoms, I wasn’t worried about anything. Cancer is the great deceiver, the trickster. And despite feeling fine, well, wracked with anxiety and worry at this point, but feeling previously physically fine, I have to poison myself to stay alive, I have to make myself sick. It’s still incomprehensible to me, so much just doesn’t make sense, but I guess that’s the secret to life... it doesn’t make sense... don’t expect it to.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Pie for breakfast, pie for lunch, pie for dinner. life is good.

I have an oncologist appointment on wed. morning when all tests will be in and we will develop a definitive plan... until then, I eat pie.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OMG, there is something better than an iPad

What is better than an iPad? Not a trick question, because I just found out there is actually something far, far better than an iPad and that is an iPad given to you by 30+ kind, caring, generous proactive souls. Who says artists aren’t organized? Someone who doesn't know the people I know, that’s for sure. Jonah said, “wow mom, real tears of joy, I’ve never seen those before.”

I don’t even know what to say, I’m blown away, I’m speechless and when's the last time you saw that? It is a wonderful thing to have a tribe, thank you for being my tribe.

I think my cancer can’t compete with you and all the positive endorphins I’ve got swirling around my brain. I think an act of kindness is far more powerful than a cancer cell and with so many caring people and my clear scans, I feel like I can do this. So screw off cancer, I think you picked the wrong host.

Happy Thanksgiving from one who is mightily thankful!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


There’s an event I like to go to on the last Wed. of every month called Pecha Kucha, and sorry, but you just pronounced it wrong... way wrong -- you have to hear someone say it minimum 100 times before your brain can process it, because it’s a Japanese word, and it means “chit-chat”.

Pecha Kucha originated in Japan and takes place in cities around the world, including Providence, at rotating venues once a month. There are an assortment of presenters each time, often working from a loose theme from which they do a slide presentation. 20 slides and 2 minutes to talk on each one, not a slide or second, more or less. You never know where someone will go with that. Some are banal, some are funny, some are informative and yes, some are brilliant because the brilliant walk among us.

As soon as I heard about PK last year, I was there, because it is so up my alley and Wed., is my only night w/o the kids and I try to get out, so PK is perfect for me. I’ve gotten brave and I’ll even go solo {but not brave enough to present} if I can’t find anyone who will go with, and luckily, I always run into someone I know to chat with, if not glom onto entirely, because here in Providence, you pretty much always run into someone you know.

Last month a feisty, warrior of a twenty-somthing gal got up there and blew the roof off. Seriously, this chic had it going on. Her presentation was about her cancer treatment {concluded, yay!} and she was hilarious. Cancer-girl had moxie and wit and immeaurable exhuberance and bravery, and the most beautiful lack of boundaries. I love anyone lacking boundaries because around them, I’m much less likely to get in trouble {well, certain boundaries anyway}.

One of the topics Cancer-girl landed on was the nasty thing they make you drink in mass quantity before a CATscan. She was wondering why it was so over-the-top disgusting and her mother {did you get that? her MOTHER!} pointed out that it was because it had the color and consistency of semen. And it’s TRUE! And now I learn first hand that they add insult to injury and call it “creamy vanilla smoothy” and serve it up at room temperature in a big ugly plastic bottle. They should really avoid the word “creamy” when dealing with this this stuff {i really can’t call it a beverage}. This stuff that I nearly choked to death on a few days ago trying to chug, to just plain get it over with. Now I’ve got nothing against semen, it gave me children and I am rather fond of men, I've got no problem with it’s delivery device, but 36 oz. straight, with no heavy petting and then again an hour later, in a hospital waiting room, NO THANK YOU!

I know I already have cancer, but if ever there were good cause for some red dye #2 and refrigeration, this is it.

Aside from that, I’m sitting in the waiting room with the loud TV waiting for my heart scan... gotta kill 20 minutes between injections and then I’m done! My month long marathon of tests will be concluded and next week I meet with my oncologist Rochelle Rochelle and settle on a plan. I may only have a week until chemo starts and I plan to make to most of it. Pie for breakfast and getting out and about as much as possible. I’ll be at the studio for a few hours tonight during the farmer’s market and I’ll also be in on Saturday, so I hope I’ll see some of you then, when it’s a bit less chaotic {and emotional} than Craftopia.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


My morning was spent having an MRI and my plan for this afternoon was to meet Jonah at the bus stop with the car and then zip over to Griffin's school, fetch him, and get them to the Pediatrician's office for their yearly checkups. To get an after school appointment takes months so you don't just blow these off. Just as I was about to leave, my "medical advocate" called me with the good news about my scans {after I kindly left her about 6 messages each increasing on the hysteria scale}.

I just HAD to do a quick blog post and then I heard the bus go down the street, so all flustered, I ran outside and promptly locked myself out of my house and car. The neighbors have a key, so no problem, except Griffin used it last week and didn't return it because he never can seem to keep a house key on him, let alone remember to return anything, and the other neighbors who are keepers-of-my-key weren't home.

So my very kind and generous neighbor drove us to pick up Griffin and then to the Pediatricians. I just can't seem to go for half a day without being in a doctor's office. She ran some errands while we were there and then had to leave to pick up her own son, so Griffin hitched a ride with her back to school for the all important end of football season ritual The Burning of The Shoe. I don't know what this entails, if there is an actual shoe involved or who brings the matches... I don't think I need to know. This left Jonah and I stranded at the doctor's office. It took many, many phone calls until I found someone who could pick us up, but until then, Jonah thought it was fun being "hobos". We pretended we were going to hitch-hike home or live in the lobby of the office. But alas our benevolent driver fetched us and I'm really happy to be home sweet home.

Better Heart

Bone scan is CLEAR, CAT scan shows NO evidence of metastases!!!!! Awaiting MRI results of both boobs which will show if it's just the one tumor and get a really accurate measurement. Tomorrow is a MUGA scan of my heart which entails another day of radioactivity and dye, it seems your heart must be working well for chemo. My heart is definitely working better now than it was this morning.

Narcissist Tango

I'm feeling a bit narcissistic with all this me, me, me... it's why i don't enjoy many blogs. Just want to let you know that I haven't forgotten about Occupy Wall Street {or Providence}, or the budget deficits, or global warming... I'm still recycling and I still care {very much} about what's happening with YOU. I know very well that I'm not the only one on the planet going through something scary and sucky... we're all going through something. XO to you too!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Miraculously, I made it to the hospital at 9a.m. to have a shot of some type of radioactive substance necessary for a bone scan. Apparently, I've been radioactive all day, but sadly have not developed any super powers or corresponding cool costume.

2 hours running quick errands then back for the actual scan... it takes one a few hours to become appropriately radioactive. I've already learned to ask them to turn the music off. The low hum of the machines is relaxing, but the tinny, transistor radio all the technicians seems to keep droning in the corner drives me nuts. One Steely Dan song is like a month in hell, I prefer the quiet.

Before the bone scan, I had to start gulping the "Creamy Vanilla Smoothie" which is barium, necessary for the CATscan. This beverage of torture would do better without the word creamy involved... w/o a name altogether, please, let's not pretend we ordered this at the café -- it is NASTY. I tried to drink it really fast and almost choked to death in the waiting room. Halfway through the bone scan I had to drink the 2nd bottle and then off to the CATscan room.

The machines are amazing looking. Steve Jobs would approve... very space age and streamlined. Nice fluid shapes, compatible with the sounds they make, the rooms are dark and peaceful until you remember why you're there. You get an IV beforehand and a couple of times they inject dye which sends a stream of warmth through you that, when it gets to your bladder, absolutely, positively, makes you feel like you're peeing. I am SO grateful they warned me about that, but it felt so real, i still had to check when they were done.

My legs felt heavy walking home... I think it was all the chemicals. Felt woozy and exhausted and came home and fell asleep for 3 hours and felt pretty sick when I got up. And I realized that was nothing compared to how I'll feel once chemo starts.

Trying to stay calm and positive before I get the results tomorrow and I don't think having an MRI will help distract me, but at least it will keep me from staring at the phone. I feel desperately in need of these tests coming back with good results because the contrary is unthinkable... too shocking to contemplate, so i'm waiting for my good news.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Been a go-go

Exhausted but exhilarated after a crazy busy weekend culminating in our most successful Craftopia yet. The new space worked like a dream and I am unspeakably grateful to so many supportive friends who went the extra mile to get the event in gear. My {somewhat} efficient brain seems a soggy pom-pom rattling around a big empty space, sticking to the sides and then rolling back down. This show wouldn't have been a go-go without so much gracious assistance. I lack superlatives for my partners in this endeavor and my new studio-mates who are picking up the slack I keep leaving behind.

I remember the day chatting in the shop 2 years ago, we three... I'd been pondering putting on a show, so many people kept suggesting it and it seemed doable, enticing, but there were a million reasons not to, so for the zillionth time, I said, "nope, not gonna to do it"... and just then a spunky old lady came up and said "I just love coming in this shop, you girls should really put on a craft show that's like this but bigger." The timing was too much, so I looked at Soapy-K and Dar {because they were not only right there, but also, the only two I could envision partnering up with} and said "what the hell, I'll do it, but I can't do it alone, are you in?" and they said "sure". I said, dar, you're paperwork, and organization, K-2 you're blogging and head cheerleader, it was as simple as that. Through four events, we've each found our niche and our roles, we've learned so much and met such great people. Each time has been more seamless than the last. Today it was exciting to see a photographer from the Providence Journal there and we were sponsored by the Providence Phoenix. I received a lovely invitation to be on the committee to reinvigorate the crafty portion of the Pawtucket Arts Festival which sadly I had to decline, but it is sure nice to be asked.

I was touched to see favorite gallery owners coming to visit today and friends from so many different parts of my life coming to support the day. Kept getting choked up which, i kind of hate doing. It's taking a lot of energy to stay in the moment and keep it together.

I got to see crafty friends and spend a little time ogling their iPads. Louisa's case is definitely the winner, coolest damned thing I've seen. White iPads each and every one, honestly, i didn't even know there was a black iPad I think someone made that up. I don't think a black iPad is a good idea.

So tonight I'm kicking back watching the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean with Griffin and it's god awful... but I'm not required to move, so it's fine.

Tomorrow at 9 a.m. I trot over to the hospital to get shot up with radioactive something or other, chill out for 3 hours and then have a bone scan. Let's hope it will be as successful an endeavor as today was.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

JuJu and Goody Bags

I'm at the shop today {my new lux shop with wifi!}, alongside my beloved farmer's market and all it's positive juju. I felt really dreary this morning, mopey and all hang-doggie, and in under an hour I'm revitalized. I'm going to plan all my treatments around the goal of not missing my Saturday markets, they always make me feel better. The shop isn't even busy, but being here lifts my spirits.

Want to know what else would lift my spirits? A goody bag. If you have children, you know that when you leave the hospital, they give you your baby AND a goody bag -- filled with formula and diapers and binky's and yeah, it's propaganda, they want to hook you on the commercial products, but still, it's a goody bag and it makes you happy.

When you leave the hospital with your cancer diagnosis, that's all you get. If nothing else, I think cancer should come with a goody bag... with an iPad in it {obviously}.  Mr. Jobs should have seen to that before he left, he of all people would understand the life-affirming, mood-lifting effects of sublime design. And the need for reading material on demand, in waiting room, after waiting room, after waiting room.

I dream of iPads because it’s much better than dreaming about stupid cancer. Cancer is not a sublime design, it’s messy and yucky, it’s a disharmonious interloper with no grace or purpose. iPads are beautiful, so i will dream of iPads.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ethnic Identity

Only 10-15% of breast cancers are Triple Negative and these occur mostly in younger women {i'm not all that young}, women who have the bad breast cancer gene {unlikely, but the test will be back in a few weeks}, and black and hispanic women.

So there it is, my secret's out of the bag... I'm african american. Admit it, you suspected it all along, WG only likes me because i remind her of her beloved Michael Jackson.

Schedule from Hell

Met with the oncologist today, Rochelle Strenger. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode about Rochelle, Rochelle, the hot new movie everyone HAS to see? So continuing the movie theme, my doctors are Dr. Marlene at the Beach and Dr. Rochelle Rochelle.

It's a good thing my appointment was expedited... we are in a rush. Aside from Turkey on Thursday, next week holds an MRI, CATscan, Bone Scan and Heart Scan, each on different days. My second tumor board meets on Nov. 29. My birthday is the 30th and my driver's license expires, so I'll be spending it at the DMV because when the heck else am I going to go? {and i kinda want a new photo before I'm bald}, and then first week in Dec. we start chemo.

Hello universe, are you serious? Did you really have to throw the DMV into the mix, because while i'm an understanding soul, that just kind of adds insult to injury.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daily Trajectory

So have you noticed that my posts start out cheery and punchy in the morning and by evening, it's another story? I know i'll feel better tomorrow, but picture this... i have no food in the house because you can't grocery shop when you're at the doctor's 37 hours a day, i burnt my popcorn, my printer won't work, and i'm about to eat a bag of frito's for dinner -- that is just sad. I think you should go out and buy me an iPad, because i think a beautiful iPad would make ANYTHING better.

You might want to start only reading morning posts, I'd understand.

Downhill Racer

Every appointment has brought more bad news, i'm starting to feel like i'm starring in a black comedy and i'm the stinkin' punchline. i'm also no longer capitalizing my i's... life is short, capital letters take time, and unless they begin a sentence, i'm considering them expendable.

I learned today that i have what's called Triple Negative Cancer. The negatives refer to the hormone receptors, so all the wonderful new, hormone blocking treatments are off the table. It is also the quickest growing, most aggressive type of breast cancer. Seeing the oncologist tomorrow. I was going to throw in some snarky "yay"s, but i can't even be sarcastic about this -- i'm snarkless.

Believe it or not, there is something called a Tumor Board... 20 or so various medical professionals in a room looking at your slides projected on a screen and discussing them and best course forward. I'm seeing an oncologist tomorrow and most likely it will be immediate chemo, then surgery, then chemo, then radiation. a little more than i'd bargained for {and it looks like capital a's are now optional as well}.

I did NOT know that 40% of cancers don't respond to chemo... that scares me. Honestly, maybe i'm a little slow on the uptake, but i've not been truly scared until now and currently, i'm three steps past scared, well into terrified.

I thought cancer-shmancer... sucks, yeah, but i'm tough, it will be a god awful year and then i'll be fine. One year. I was willing to give up a year of my life to cancer, I didn't expect it might want a whole lot more than that.

Birthers and Minions of Doom

The blog is being wonky, it' keeps making my "followers" disappear, that's not nice at all.

Have you signed up yet? Because me and my blog want a lot of followers. I told a friend that I wanted followers so I’d feel like Hare Krishna, but maybe it’s more like David Koresh or Mr. What’s-His-Face, the King-of-Koolaid... Jim Jones that’s it. And wait a minute, his name is an alliteration just like mine, spoooooooky.

How do you even know i have cancer, this could all be a cunning ruse to suck you into my blog where you’ll be bombarded with subliminal, mind-altering messages -- in the font, the letter spacing and most certainly between the lines. How do you know it’s for real, have you seen my official biopsy report, the long form OR the short?

Maybe I’m just toying with you, oh my, that would be truly sinister. Simon Barsinister and where, oh where, is Underdog?

Naw, what I'm doing is procrastinating. I have a stack of papers 1/2 thick to fill out before my genetic counselor meeting this afternoon {i mean, homework, come on... not fair}, a big pile of laundry to do and stuff that needs to be lugged over to the studio for the weekend. None of these things are appealing so I'm amusing myself and wasting time : }

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Awestruck and Crafty Chics

I am overwhelmed by the support and love in my life. From my closest, unbelievably dependable friends who have not wavered and who's presence I feel every minute of the day, to neighbors and colleagues and my amazing crafty community. I love that us entrepreneurial and crafty chics can stick together, I am moved past description that one of the Craftland honchitas has offered to cover my shop should the need arise, and a sweet visit from the lovely Ms. Rag & Bone Bindery who's HQ is down the road, my Craftopia partners picking up the slack without missing a beat, the Festival Feter's promoting my show when theirs is just a few weeks away, my studio-mates, incredible and so generous and patient and kind. Emails I've received from near and far. I feel like if I have all of you in my life, I must be doing something right but that diminishes my gratitude not a whit.

There is just something so special about our town {that pretends it's a city}. My pediatrician lives in my hood, so it takes a simple call to his wife, who I also count as a friend, and he stops by after a 14 hour day to chat in my kitchen about the best ways to talk to my boys about this, alleviating my anxiety and arming me with really good information. My neighbor and bus-stop pal's oncologist husband, who always brings his {adorable} girls into my shop, picks up the phone and my oncology appointment at a completely different hospital gets expedited. Everyone, so kind and generous of spirit, I barely know what to say.

I am feeling so much better after a quieter day, the marbles in my head aren't rattling around quite so much and I'm determined that through this my house will be festive and lively. The usual potluck dinners and gatherings, y'all know I like a busy, happy house and I see no reason why it not stay that way, for me and for my guys, for all of us. I don't want people dropping off food, I want them to sit and eat with us and play games and watch movies. All of this generosity around me is making me feel protected and powerful, I'm ready to get my warrior boots on. Profoundest thanks to all.

So... tomorrow is genetic counselor which I think is a waste of time, I highly doubt I have the gene, but I am being compliant, Friday is oncologist, Saturday is work and decorate for Craftopia, Sunday IS Craftopia {yes, because when you find out you have cancer, you really SHOULD throw a party for 3,000 people}, next Tuesday is MRI and Thursday is Thanksgiving and by early December there should be a plan in place. A cunning, crafty plan. Instead of Vermont this year, My sister is coming here to cook. Nothing makes her happier, I don't think, than cooking for a hoard of people and that one can COOK! So if you don't have plans, call me, and join us for dinner, or just stop by for dessert or any time throughout the day. I have my heart absolutely set on a fun, festive, busy, bustling, happy day.

Still Water

My MRI today was postponed until Friday due to insurance approval nonsense. I think this might be a good thing. I'm exhausted, I admit it, and will take a slow, quiet day when it is offered. Restore some semblance of routine like breakfast and reading the newspaper... need to catch up on what's going on with Rex Morgan, MD. And maybe it's best not to get anymore news one way or the other until after Craftopia on Sunday. Yes, I got cancer just in time to host an event for 3,000 people. It's good to keep busy, but the past couple of weeks have been pushing the envelope. I guess I'm not one for moderation.

Yesterday, I finally told Jonah and the look on his face is etched on my brain forever, next to the look on 4 year old Griffin's face when I told him his {my} baby wasn't coming home from the hospital after all. I feel like the adversity I've experienced in the past has prepared me for this, I know I'm resourceful, I know I'm resilient, I know it's possible to come back from the brink, but for the first time, I'm a tad resentful that I can't seem to catch a break, can't quite get to that elusive place of both still waters and new adventures {and dating, god damn it}. Maybe that's just life in all it's glory -- no joy without sadness and no great love without great pain, and i would choose great pain any day, if it comes with great love.

I'm a firm believer that everyone should experience something truly terrible, truly scary, because it gives you the capacity for the greatest appreciation of minutia -- the beauty and joy found throughout every day, to be endlessly amused, what is life but a big swirling tornado of minutia wrapped up with a ribbon. I made peace with my Chronic Hep C years ago, with the unknown, with fear, I made peace with losing Claudia, I don't like it, I sure as shit don't like it, but I can live with it, and I made peace with a bad marriage by trying everything I could possibly think of to fix it, and then finally getting the hell out of it, and I can still laugh and I appreciate endless things every day and am in daily awe of the absolute honor and priviledge it is to be the mother of my children, that life has gifted me those two kooky creatures compensates for ANYTHING. It's just that I thought I'd hit my quota and for the first time I'm pissed, and annoyed and feeling that enough is enough and I don't like feeling that way.

Yes, adversity brings with it the capacity for the great joy, endless amazement, but it's a choice in the end. It's pretty much that or become a paralyzed alcoholic, or just plain mean and angry. I choose joy. But I'm tired and I need a day off.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The word of the day {week} is now officially fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck. I’d find a better word if there was one but my trusty thesaurus is no help on this -- fuck, copulate, to have sexual intercourse... excuse me, but those are good things which beg the question how did fuck become our expression for evrything bad and nasty? I’m fucked, literally speaking, would be a good, {ridiculously} long-overdue thing! But no, I’m just fucked.

Each appointment is more depressing and scary than the last. I really felt I had a solid grip on this at first. I was prepared for early cancer, stage one, little bitty, cancer... now we’re talking about chemo even before the surgery to shrink the tumor. MRI tomorrow and Lymph Node Ultrasound.

I’ve chosen Dr. Tuesday, Marlena Cutitar, because why not have a doctor with a name like an exotic movie star? Marlena On The Beach... I feel much more comfortable at the smaller office and at the smaller, yet very good hospital.

The boob industrial complex that is the Office of Breast Health at Women and Infant’s Hospital was out of a David Macaulay book, It makes sense ultimately... but you have to stare at it for a year and have some ability to focus which at this point i do not possess {and might not have had to begin with}. They are certainly not understaffed and everyone is lovely but it’s like a giant Rube Goldberg device flinging doctors and social workers and schedulers and advocates at you from every direction. I had such sensory overload I could barely find the exit. Too much of everything.

Breathe. breathe. and... FUCK!

Monday, November 14, 2011


My head is spinning, too much information, too many impending appointments in too many different places. My tumor is an inch big... how can it not be there last year and then be a fucking inch big? I thought cancer was a pea, not a heap, not a big gob. And it's not playing nice, my tumor really does have bad manners, it has aggressive nuclei or some such nonsense, it's Stage 2 at least, while I was definitely aiming for a 1. My tumor is the kid in the sandbox that keeps whacking the other kids, the nice kids, the cute kids, in the head with a dump truck. You know that kid, the one who's parents are so busy bragging about how he knows his alphabet already, is gifted, and on the Ivy League fast-track, that they never notice him whacking the other kids with the dump truck and even if they did, that sweet, quiet kid must have started it. My tumor needed a better pre-school teacher, but at least I'm a better parent than dump truck kids' are. I don't think this behavior should be tolerated, i really don't.

Miracle Cure

I'm so looking forward to seeing the doctor today because as I walk through the door, I'll be instantly cured of about five different cancers. Over the past few weeks, the innocuous zit on my back has turned into a melanoma. My achy knee, not a common flare-up of a decades old injury, it's bone cancer. Heartburn, lung cancer, and my fuzzy head is not the result of stress and age, it's my new brain cancer.

So I figure today, I'll be instantaneously cured of 5 out of 6 cancers. Dealing with only one will be a piece of cake!

And my appt. isn't until 2, so I get all morning in my studio-happy-place. I heart studio!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Perfect Weekend

One can have a perfect weekend even after they learn they have cancer. One of my oldest, truest-bluest, favorite friends came up from DC for the weekend. We'd planned it ages ago because I'd just been too long and at first I thought the timing sucked, but really it couldn't have been better. Gary, thank you truly, for lending Robert to me for the weekend! And R, just thank you, I love you so much and always will.

I am meeting with a surgeon on Monday and another on Tuesday morning. I've asked everyone I know, friends, doctors, nurses... who asked their friends, doctors, nurses, and one name came up 4 times. She's the Tuesday appt., and while it will be good to compare what they have to say, I suspect I'll be going with Dr. Tuesday.

She works out of Miriam Hospital and that's right up the street from my house and it's comforting, not to mention ridiculously convenient to be so close and I've heard great things about their oncology department. Only in our great neighborhood can you walk to your oncology appointment. I heart Providence.

My I-can-count-on-for-anything friend Cathie is coming to both appointments to be clear-headed and take notes and help me assimilate information because my already fuzzy, forgetful brain is operating at about 6%. Thank you C, for rearranging your schedule and making your already busy week a little busier and thank you for being the smart, savvy person you are, who I know will help me make good decisions.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What is it?

It's an Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Invasive because instead of living the good life ensconced in it's own cozy little milk duct, my tumor has wanderlust and decided to hit the road. Question is, how far has he gotten? that will be revealed in surgery which remains to be scheduled... I have a slew of doctor's appointments next week.

Why have i given my cancer a male identity? I don't know... It's certainly not that I don't like men, I adore men, would love to have a sweet one of my very own, but for whatever reason my cancer seems male. If I were Jonah, I'd name him Bob, because Jonah names everything Bob. But no worries, I'm not crossing that line, he doesn't get a name.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sweet November

I love November. I'd love it more if it were warmer, but i say that 9 months out of the year. I like all the leaves blowing around making a mess... it makes everyone else's yard look messy for a while instead of just mine. There's still halloween candy, can't argue with that, I love Thanksgiving in Vermont and it's my birthday month. In fact, it's the month of birthdays of so many good friends because Scorpio women seem to be my thing {no, not that way}, but for whatever reason, most of my best and most enduring relationships with women are Scorpio women, so November has a lot of celebrating. Happy Birthday Scorpio Women.

I started the month by moving into my new studio which I LOVE. I have studio-mates now, hand-picked for their awesomeness. Aside from 1200 sq. ft. of spectacular, we have a closet, a couch and tea on demand machine, we are living it up! The fact that I actually got everything from point A to point B was near miraculous, I did some cathartic purging and organizing, unpacked and settled in to work, high hopes for my little biz this year and necessary because the mortgage payments are now all mine. I got the gallery together lickety-split, everything fit perfectly in the allotted space and looked great for opening day. First Saturday of the Farmer's Market was one step past lovely -- catching up with my favorite regular customers, seeing the farmer's again, friends stopping in, food trucks... need i say more? Once you say "food truck", you're pretty much all done. My divorce court date was FINALLY set for Nov. 21... CRAFTOPIA just around the corner and everything falling into place. This was lining up to be the best month ever followed by the best year ever.

Finally, my new life which i've been crawling over broken glass to get to, my brand new shiny life... YAY! And internet dating, i swear i was gonna do it.

November, yes... well the first 8 days of November at least -- a whole week! then on the 9th day, I got cancer. Thanks cancer, i think i hate you. well, i didn't just get it, obviously... i had it but didn't know it because cancer is a sneaky little bastard.

So that's what this blog is about. How cancer kissed my ass on the way out, because uninvited guests WILL be shown the door. This blog is how, if you are interested, you can find out how things are going because i can only make so many phone calls and send so many emails... might as well have it all in one place. So there will be cancer talk, tasteless cancer jokes which I can make and you can't because i have cancer and you don't, so there. No doubt my obsession with politics and current events will pop up and who the heck knows what else, because like life and everything else, it is a work in progress.

If you know me even just a little, you know I love to write. It is the most enjoyable, easy and cathartic thing I can think of to do, so I'd be honored if you'd join me on this trek. xo... k t c