Wednesday, January 1, 2014


It's a new year, wow. I can't believe that it's only been a year since I finished treatment even though I've segued right into even more treatment, albeit for the chemo side-effects, nonetheless, it's been a great year. I have a hard time believing that this time last year, I was just exiting the bald zone, and barely had the energy to climb a flight of stairs. I must have had very short, fuzzy hair, I really don't recall as I currently like a crazed poodle with my unpredictable, full head of curly hair that keeps threatening to revert to straightdom {boo, I love the curly hair}.  I have a full and busy life where I can't conceive of being sick.

Cancer is still a huge part of my life, in fact, this morning I kept my promise to my patient and kind Lymphedema PT and put on my compression sleeve for the first time. I told her over and over that I would do it after the holidays and since that is today, I've kept my word. It's uncomfortable and makes my arm feel strangely cold. The gauntlet or fingerless glove probably isn't going to cut it... I think my fingers are swelling, so at some point I may have to resort to the full on glove which only comes in beige, no likey. Plus, in a glove, I can't type, slip on a kitchen glove to do dishes, it's just going to be much more of a nuisance.

I'd advise anyone considering getting cancer to do it on their non primary side, live and learn. Lately, I've had trouble even holding pen. Not so good for a maker of things small and delicate. I'm trying to conjure other ways of making money, as while we remain thrilled to death about the tall one's acceptance to his dream college, their "need blind" policy, seems, off paper and in reality, more of a we're-blind-to-your-need policy.

I've also kept my promise to have more balance in my life, to not put working and caring for others above living, and thus have planned a trip to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico {with a day trip to Cozumel and jungle expedition} for which I gleefully leave in exactly seven weeks. I have mixed feelings about this... part of me feels like every penny should go to helping G pay for college, as if our appeal isn't met with more funds, his potential debt is looking enormous. At the same time, putting my kids and their wants and needs before my own for so long, combined with my acute awareness of mortality, makes me unable to put off certain things any longer. I have no problem not buying clothes or shoes or dining out much. No problem keeping life simple, my raggedy couch is fine and my house in adequate if not stellar condition... I dream of bathroom rehabs, but I know I'll never really do one, I can opt not to spend money on many, many discretionary items, but I just have to make up for a life without travel and adventure. I have to repeat the joy, unmitigated joy and relief of floating and diving in the warm, blue sea.

And a bathing suit and skin tight wetsuit looming in my future is the motivation I need to get in shape. At least now I know not to try it with a skirted tankini, not easy to stuff that inside a wet suit without looking like you're wearing an inner tube inside. I am now equiped with binkini bottom and sports bra, although honestly, I don't think I should have to wear a top. For the next seven weeks, studio time is going to turn into gym time and physical therapy time, it's just plain necessary. I keep reading and rereading how gaining weight after treatment is detrimental to ones odds and while I'm absolutely clear that I'm quite, absolutely not suicidal, I've allowed my addiction to sugar and desserts jeopardize my health, as well as my comfort and self esteem and there's just no more excuse for that. So a new year and impending trip are just what I need.

I hosted a lot over the holidays. Had friends and family over for Thanksgiving, Xmas Eve, and New Year's Eve. I cooked for the first time in almost two years, cooked, beyond the utilitarian. I enjoyed it, but both times made my tried and true favorites and they didn't turn out as they usually do. My pasta sauce and meatballs and my chicken with apricots and olives didn't come out the same or as good as the zillions of times I've made them before, and I'm mystified as to what I've forgotten or done differently.

I'm grateful to have people in my life to share holidays with, and really enjoyed both my boys throughout. I had early-bird guests last night, tall one went out after dinner to be the Designated Driver, and my boy beloved and I finished the night by watching a few episodes of Avatar, our favorite cartoon series which I gave to the whole family as a holiday gift. I suggested turning on the ball drop at 11:55 and he said, "nah, that's always really stupid, let's just keep watching our episode." And yeah, the ball dropping, or moving painfully slowly down a poll surrounded by idiots in Times Square, is pretty stupid, so we just stayed snuggled on the couch and eventually went to bed with lots of kisses and hugs. Truth be told, we're all traumatized for life by seeing post-stroke Dick Clark french kiss his aging porn-star looking wife several ball drops ago. Dick's wagging tongue in high definition was possibly the most horrible image etched in my mind, there's no turning back the new year's clock on that frozen moment in time.

I turned fifty right after Thanksgiving and after obsessing for months over how to mark the occasion... a huge summer lawn party, a dinner, this, that, something else... when it came down to it, I neglected to make any plans at all. I called a friend at the last minute and we went out for a really nice, relaxing dinner and a few nights later a couple of other friends took me out, there was a gorgeous surprise cake brought to the studio, and it was really all I needed, why do we make things so complicated? A friend of mine turned 50 a few weeks before me and she said she's going to celebrate all year, so that's what I'm doing... celebrating all year. In seven weeks, I'll be celebrating with the fishies, and I hope turtles in Mexico.

Griffin and my brother conspired to get me a gift certificate at a local dive shop which really touched me. G was so proud of himself for getting it done and as he gave it to me he smiled so genuinely and said "pink wetsuit mom... seriously" and nodded to me with sincerity and affection. J gave me what I asked for -- a card that said the 10 things he liked most about me, and he outdid himself. He couldn't have described me in a way I'd enjoy more and each item had a Jonah-doodle and J-doodles are priceless. If I wasn't so afraid of infection from my low blood counts, I'd get one of his smiling stick figures tattooed on my leg. I love this card so much I put it in a safe place, so I could take it to Staples and have a laminated, mounted copy made to hang by my bed which yeah, means I can't find it and it's driving me crazy. Out of the clear blue sky I got a package in the mail that contained a badass, pink dive knife from an unexpected friend, who said they saw it and couldn't resist and that spontaneous act of thoughtfulness meant the world to me, icing on the birthday cake. The knife straps to one's calf and I know damned well I'd sever my own leg trying to re-sheath it, so while I'm not sure I'm ready to use it, I love, love, love it and it's hanging in my kitchen to remind myself daily that I'm a badass.


  1. i spent extra on a pink one. i don't know if you can dye them... they're all polyester and elastic... and dark beige, probably pretty resistant.