I’m Writing a Book

MacWriter-APPLEphotoOK – I wrote it…not the book.  Just those words, which carry the intent that I’m gonna…write the book.   I’m doing this for a number of reasons but I’m telling you about it for only one reason – to keep me honest and hold me to it.  So buckle up and please, please. please come along with me for this ride.  I want to drive and I want you with me.

I’ve always thought I was destined to write a book and I’ve included the the phrase, “I know I’ve got a good book in me,” to countless people in thousands of conversations over the years.  But jobs, life, fun, sickness, health, child care, laundry, shopping, shaving my legs and multitudes of “good” reasons have always gotten in the way.  The truth of the matter is that the only real reason was laziness and fear.  I could have scraped together the time to write, hell…I’m writing now!  I just never wanted to take the plunge into the deep end of the writing pool because it seemed so… deep.   I can swim, but I’d rather just float…with a drink in my hand and my eyes closed.  Now, suddenly I don’t think I’ll drown.  I’m ready to do this.

Don’t ask me why.  I’m not exactly sure myself.  It could be, and probably is, a culmination of all the events that have led me to now.  It’s also a ton of little tiny signs that have converged into a tipping point becoming so obvious that I can no longer ignore them.  And then there’s this blog.  There are probably 3  entire books worth of posts in here, some of which will probably be, or be the basis of, a chapter or 10.

I believe in God.  I was brought up in a severely Catholic situation.  Catholic grammar Pond lily 4-3-11school, an all-girls Catholic high school and a Catholic college.  The only reason I didn’t end up as a nun is…well all the reasons.  Sex was probably the biggest.  But the costumes being black and I’m a spring who shouldn’t wear black, and the praying thing and my knee problems and the behaving all humble and… all that.  Let’s face it, just because I could recite the Mass in Latin doesn’t mean I would have been accepted into the convent.  But the point is that I just remember all nuns saying they heard God call them.  I’ve spent my entire life in close proximity to dozens of phones.  I never got the call.  Until this.  I think I got a writing call.

Yearbook Photo-MeCatholicism aside, my relationship with God has mellowed over the years.  For very personal reasons that are between me and Him, I was put in a position that forced my hand because of the strict rules the Catholics of the 1970s.  They liked to play hardball.  In order to marry a non-Catholic I was forced to make promises with which I took exception.  I had a long chat with God.  I assured him that I would get married in a church to make my family happy.  But I also assured him that I thought the priestly power play was just as skeevy as the fee I had to send to the Pope for papal permission to let me marry a rat-bastard Christian Scientist.  I told him if the parish was going to force me into a corner,  my Catholic days would be over.  And they were.

So for years my relationship with God has been pretty loose-goosey.  I actually really like it img_1435this way.  When I moved to Florida I realized that God doesn’t live in Churches.  Have you seen a sunrise at the beach.  That’s where God lives!  He owns oceanfront.  And when I talk to Him, which I do A LOT, I talk to Him the same way I talk to friends.  He knows I use the F-word.  He knows I’m sarcastic and bitchy.  He also knows I’m as dense as a fat chick in Extra-Small Spanx!  So over the years I have begged for signs when I’m at a crossroads.  And He humors me with HUGE effing signs when He’s finally decided to shoot me a map.  So for the past six months I’ve been praying every morning as I would drive to the crappiest job ever.  Nothing…until…

  • I sprained my ankle, tore a ligament and broke a bone in my foot while working.  Not sure about this but I think maybe God tripped me.  This was too stupid of an accident for me.  I’m pretty careful.  I know I have been the family breadwinner and golden goose since we started the Lymphoma Limbo in 2004.  I’ve changed a lot in order to protect myself just so I could continue in that responsibility.  This injury was freaky and the only way I could start making sense was when I tried to… WRITE about it!
  • I got fired from a crappy job, which in retrospect was the worst one I’ve had since a 4 hour stint as a dressing room attendant in a Gimbels department store in NY. Even though the Gimbels gig was a part-time college job, I wouldn’t put up with crap for a whole 8 hour day. I went out to lunch and found a new job…a better job….a more fun job.  Instead of clocking back in, I quit after 4 hours and couldn’t have been happier.  That had been my M.O. for the last 42 years so keeping a crappy job was WAY out of character for me.  I didn’t even realize that until I dissected it – in WRITING
  • I used to be able to get jobs really fast and pretty easily.  When I found something I wanted I was good about landing it.  Suddenly I can’t even land an interview.  And if and when I do, I damn sure know they’re going to be really impressed when they see the boot!  What about that?  Answer – It’s gotta be time!  Sit back, shut up and WRITE
  • My son-in-law makes little videos on a FB site and I want to watch them but can’t.  All his positive jibber-jabber has been pissing me off lately.  I’m trying to wallow in pity and self-help advice from a thirty-something is irritating.  But I accidentally clicked on him the other day and before I could stop it I heard him say, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”  “Screw you Matt!  Blah-Blah-Blah…I can’t hear you!”  But I did hear him and immediately my mind clicked….Answer – WRITE a book.
  • Finally, there’s nothing that interests me on the entire world wide web, I can’t find a book I want to read and all 6000 channels on my TV suck.  I’m so bored and yet usually I have no problem entertaining myself.  Why now?  How can I occupy my time?  Answer – WRITE

So there you go, those are my signs.  And I think rather than wallowing in my own crap any more, it’s time I put the Can in Cancer.  So here’s the Premise:

Sept. Lymphoma Awareness monthCancer touches everyone. Yet it still has the stigma of leprosy and AIDS combined with the death sentence of a convicted criminal. People bristle when they hear the word; saying, “Cancer” evokes the look of pity, horror or uncomfortable dismissal from bystanders. It’s an awful disease. It’s scary, it’s unpleasant and it’s all around us. We need to learn to embrace its being, take a deep breath and look at it face on. We need to be able to make fun of it, to take away its power. And to use the word in conversation as a piece of news just like pregnancy, a tax audit or a sale at Macy’s. It’s something that’s going on in our lives. It’s something that effects us. It’s something about which many people need to talk. And the response doesn’t ever need a story that ends in a cemetery. You wouldn’t talk miscarriages with a newly pregnant woman, or jail time with an unfortunate taxpayer. And you certainly wouldn’t reminisce about a relative getting hit by a bus on the way to the semi-annual white sale at Macy’s. It needs to be the same with cancer. Scientists and doctors are working non-stop to obliterate the disease. We need to obliterate the stigma as well. Let’s make America great again and let’s make cancer fun again.

What do you think.  This one time, I’m asking you to use the LIKE BUTTON at the bottom like-buttonof the post if you’re on board.  And more importantly, please just this once, make use of the  “Comments” option below to tell me what you think, what you suggest, want you want me to cover…or anything you can think of that I should know.  Share all your thoughts.  I really want to know.  Share with any friends who you think will have an opinion and get me the feedback I need!

I’m going to do this and I want you to be part of it, so hop in and buckle up.  I told you before, I’m driving!

 

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I’m Happy to Say, “My Husband is a Pain in the Ass!”

DUMBASSThat’s right!  I said it!  Steven is a pain in the ass!  He’s pissy and needy and demanding.  He’s driving me crazy and I think that’s AWESOME!  It means he’s getting better!  Sick people don’t generate these feelings in normal people…or even cranky, bitchy people like me!  Even WE feel empathy for sickies, we feel sorry for them, we feel caring towards them.  “Well people” exhibiting the same behavior are a pain in the ass.

Steven’s blood pressure is still unbelievably low.  In clinic this morning, he tested at 71/53.  And that was after walking to the front entrance of the hospital in 88 Blood Pressuredegree weather and then having me wheel chair him up to the 7th floor…which may or may not have involved a minor crash into the elevator wall, a close call in almost knocking over an industrial trash can and parallel parking job that nearly crushed another patient.  But even after all that, which by the way made him a little snippy, low blood pressure comes with the common-sense safety precaution of monitoring his every move.  Only now that he’s back on the outside where reality involves gravity, there are moves that he thinks he can make…but probably can’t.  Unfortunately, if anything bad happens where gravity introduces his bald head to the rough concrete, it’ll be on my watch…it’ll go on my permanent record.  So it’s safer and will make me look better if I just wait on him…and damn, he wants a lot!

I need my charger, I need my meds, I need something to drink, I need to go to the bathroom, I need to take a shower, I need to eat, I need, I need, I need.  Do you know what I need?  I need him to shut his pie hole and let me collect my thoughts.  Yesterday he was in a safe bed with everything at everyone’s fingertips.  If he needed help there was a nurse who was only caring for him and the guy next door.  Granted it was a 12 hour shift of constant care, but she didn’t have laundry or errands or calls from work, the insurance company or AT&T.  She was already AT work and also had a PCA to help her if both patients needed her at the same time.  And there were about 4 techs running around assisting the nurses and PCAs.  And they were all in a goddamned hospital where everything was set up for the ease of all of those rat bastards.

MOANING IN BEDNow it’s just me, trying to navigate a glorified hotel room, a regular bathroom and an average mid-sized SUV to cater to his every need.  And, by the way, I still have that arthritic toe (read my 2nd post ever – My Guide To Surviving Cancer) so I’ve got my own aches and pains that slow me down.  And after almost a whole year of cancer being the focal point of our lives, I’m a little tired.  I’m tired of rushing to work without getting everything organized before I leave.  I’m tired of racing out of work knowing I’m already exhausted but I have a million things that still need tending at home.  I’m tired of driving from Satellite Beach to Orlando or Gainesville.  I’m tired of trying to figure out how to put in a full week’s worth of work into 3 days.  And I’m tired of always being 3-4 weeks past due for a hair cut or pedicure or washing my own underwear.  So I’m getting a little cranky.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I can see Steven is finally on his way back to recovery after a really hard hit.  It’s just not quite here yet and we’re both in that vortex of irritation.

Today we were in the out-patient chemo room on the 7th. floor of the BMT wing at Shands. I could see our old stomping ground Chemo Room 6-18-15from there.  But instead of getting infused in a bed, Steven was in one of the comfy chemo loungers.  The nurse had given him a plumped up pillow and 3 warmed blankets to keep him cozy.  And all the patients there were wearing street clothes because when the IV pump beeps that it’s done, we all got to leave.  We get in our respective cars and go somewhere that is not a hospital.  And I am so happy that we’ve finally come this far.  I could see the stem cell collection room from there, where we started our journey.  And I could see our future in front of us, with all the fabulous new experiences yet to come.  And now, I can see Steven getting back his strength and stamina and energy.  And I just pray that I have a little more patience to get to that time.  Because sometimes, with a pain in the ass, you imagine him asleep as you hold a pillow over his face…

And if you’ve never felt that way about someone you love, then you’re a big fat liar.  I just say what other people think and I think we all have had similar thoughts sometime.  In reality, I know I’m the luckiest woman in the world.  Steven and I have come so far in this incredibly challenging situation that I’d never really kill him, I’ve got too much time invested in convincing him I’m a trophy wife, that the world revolves around me and he’s the luckiest man in the world…and he is…which makes us the perfect mates!

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widgetTHIS IS IT! Unfortunately, we don’t know when Steven will be released from Shands or how long we’ll be at Hope Lodge afterwards. What that means is that I don’t know how much time I’ll be away from work without pay. I’ve only got 2 sick days and 1/2 a vacation day left and our bills still keep coming! If you think you’d like to help us, we’d really appreciate it. Visit our GO FUND ME page and drop a bit in the hat if you have some to spare.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

DUMBASSMy heart is kind of breaking right now.  I now understand how so many cancer patients feel when the system fails them.  We have been incredibly fortunate up until now with our caregivers, time lines and insurance coverage.  Suddenly it seems that has all gone to shit!

It’s been weeks since our first visit to Shands and two months since Steven’s last chemotherapy treatment.  In the interim, his cancer is gaining strength and because of the most bizarre series of circumstances that include the Christmas holidays, the yearly Lymphoma convention, our doctor’s annual mission to Haiti and pure bad luck, Steven has become a hot mess.

Finally, on Monday night we got a call from Dr. Sprawls.  For whatever reason, all the other doctorsI'L TAKE CARE OF YOU in his practice who were covering for him during his scheduled absence, chose to ignore Steven’s calls and updated messages concerning his plummet into really bad shape,  So that particular call was a ray of light.  Dr. Sprawls said he was going to get Steven into the hospital for the first round of RICE chemo, before our trip on February 2 back to the Bone Marrow Transplant specialist in Gainesville.  Dr. Sprawls decision was the first time in a long time someone has finally taken the steps to relieve Steven’s symptoms and push back the cancer to a more manageable place.  I was SOOOO excited. I finally felt like we were back on track for proactive treatment of Steven’s pain and suffering.

IMG_0920

ANOTHER NIGHT WITH STEVEN PASSING OUT FRO THE EXERTION OF GETTING TO THE BATHROOM!

I know that sounds weird, but Steven is way past my care givings abilities.  I’m good to a point, but I’m not a trained professional and once he started passing out again, not from chemo side effects, but from the cancer itself, I no longer felt knowledgeable enough to be trying to figure out how to keep him safe, comfortable and without pain.  And I’m not in the physical shape to be lifting and toting him from room to room.  And the nausea just adds to the daily trips to and from that most excellent comfort height toilet…something that everyone should invest in!  So the idea that he would go to a place where there was a whole staff to take care of him, options for elimination that don’t involve maneuvering to the bathroom with blood pressure of 90/50 and the meds that would help fight the current symptoms mixed with the industrial strength pain killers that you can only get through and IV drip, I was thrilled!

But Tuesday came and there was nothing.  On Wednesday the hospital told us they had to order the chemo drugs because they don’t stock those.  Today is Thursday and I took the day off from work to get him settled.  It was early afternoon when QUIT YOUR BITCHINwe finally learned that the 3 days of continual chemo could not start today because there is no weekend chemo nurse to oversee his treatment.  Seriously?  There are nurses who specialize in chemotherapy?  But they only work during the week?  And a hospital won’t call one in for the weekend, even when someone is in dire need?  Does that sound like healthcare to you?  I work in a business where there are no “real” emergencies!  Yet we get crap all the time from medical people because we don’t see clients on the weekend.  But NO ONE DIES IN DESIGN CENTERS!  Maybe if one of those high faulutin’ morons worked a weekend shift to care for a patient who actually could DIE, they might be able to squeeze in a weekday off to come to my place of business!

BEING A LADYegSo now we wait…and I worry that something will happen on my watch.  We’ll go to Gainesville on Monday and then check Steven into the hospital on Tuesday.  So another weekend where I watch him suffer without being able to help him feel better.

I’m upset, pissed, scared, angry and thankful that this is the first time we’ve had to navigate a cluster like this one!

.

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The Man Who Has Everything

IMG_0879Well, Christmas is almost here and I still don’t have a gift for Steven nailed down. What do you get for the man who has everything?

When Steven really wants something he usually gets it. I don’t mean that in a real spoiled-y husband kind of way! It’s just that his wants are so few, that when there is something special that he has his eye on, one of us usually makes it happen – thus making it very hard for me when a special occasion arises like a birthday, an anniversary or Christmas, to hit a homerun as wife of the year in the gift department.

So this year I thought I was really going to kill it! What do you get for the man who has everything including…lymphoma? You get him a bone marrow transplant! I know that might not seem like something really dandy to most people but trust me, when you need one it’s the gift that keeps on giving! The bad thing is a bone marrow transplant is just like the latest and greatest toy. It’s really hard to get around the holidays.

All this past week, Dr. Sprawls’ staff has been trying to get Steven an appointment with the renowned Dr. Lynch at Shands medical center in Gainesville. They still haven’t been able to make it happen because of the end of year festivities that everyone else is enjoying. Add to that the little wrinkle that all Americans who work for a living know. “Use it or lose” it on vacation days is the status quo. In medical offices throughout the land, no one is sitting in their usual chair. The ins and outs of running an office have become a mumbo-jumbo of people trying to fake their way through the day in order to cover all the vacationing spots!

Getting the appointment is only the beginning of my woe. I really hate to be thinking of a bone marrow transplant as the Cabbage Patch doll of my current life, but it looks like that’s what it’s become. Not only am I having trouble getting one before Christmas, but I’m gonna pay through the nose for this little baby whenever it passes by. We met our “out of pocket” insurance for this year, but if this transplant nonsense starts at the beginning of 2015, I am screwed. The insurance game makes overnight shipping charges seem like gum ball money!

So for the holiday season we’ll be sitting by the phone awaiting the next phase of treatment…and probably scrounging the sofa for spare change. But no matter what comes next, we’re both glad I didn’t settle on getting him a tie.

Bee Tee Dubs. This post comes to you from the keypad of my iPhone 6. How current am I?

Hurricane Sandy is ME!

OK, Boys and Girls, I’m back.  I’ve forced myself to lay off clacking away on my keyboard because I didn’t want to whine.  There comes a point in the old cancer game when the lack of income and insurance makes for an ugly life.  I never expected that to happen to us, but apparently it could, would and did.  Yuck.

Good news, I got my old job back.  I’m starting next week as a big-shot designer again, only in Orlando this time.  Finally, Steven feels more confident that he might live because I only have to wait 90 days to get my insurance back.  And, I think he’s hoping that I will spend some nights in Orlando with Alexis rather than driving back and forth every day.  So, without me around all the time, I know he’ll remember how much he likes me! Once he misses me and after he realizes he’s going to get rid of the diseased cells that are eating away at his sense of humor, he will eventually go back to normal… So that’s me in a nutshell!  Just sayin’…to fill in the blanks in blog entries for the past 6 weeks.  Not looking for sympathy, concern or nuthin’…just sayin’!

Now lets talk cancer and hurricanes.  Believe it or not, I can see a similarity.  Both wreak  havoc with your life, both come relatively unexpectedly and both can be either REALLY serious or fizzle into an inconvenience.  Unfortunately, you never know which way it’s going to turn until the last minute…meaning you could be standing there with your pants down right in the path of something devastatingly bad!

I’ve already admitted that after Steven’s Stage 4 large B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma adventure, I became pretty snobby and touchy when someone whined about having cancer…the kind that the dermatologist scrapes off with TOUNGE DEPRESSOR!  I know the word “cancer” is scary no matter how it rears it’s head on one’s body.  And I do know that, left untreated, any cancer can be life threatening.  But…and this is a really big BUT…if you haven’t lost 50 pounds in a month, puked at the smell of coffee or needed Turtle Wax to wash your hair…quit whining for now, you big baby!

So, with that in mind, let’s piss of some more people and talk hurricanes!  Florida takes a pretty big kick in the head from the rest of the country when it comes to the joke front.  We are considered backwoods, hillbilly-ish, redneck idiots by lots of high profile yappers who have the attention of the followers gotten through their high-profile positions. (chelsea handler).  What most forget is that the state of Florida is transplant central when it comes to diversity.  Most of our residents are FROM someplace else, so when you (chelsea handler) make fun of Florida, you’re really making fun of all those NY, NJ, PA, ect. transplants who just decided to stop putting up with daily crap. (And who are probably your relatives!)

That being said, those of us who have been transplants for so long (30 years for me), that we consider ourself Floridians, we try to be patient with you damn Yankees.  Until you start showing your stupid side.  So, the Northeast is shivering in their shoes about Hurricane Sandy.  Here are a few tips, even though I know that by the nature of your geographic location, YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING. But..
TAPE WINDOW Oswald Felleres in AP PhotoJulio CortezTAPE? WTF is that going to do.  Tape is what recent Yankee newbies use until we locals show them the errors of their ways!  Any idea what taping windows does? It holds the glass together so that instead of small shards coming though your living room, you just might hit the IDIOT LOTTO and have a 4 foot glass scalpel decapitate you!  

Mark Palazzolo boards up AP PhotoWayne ParryHow about this, Sparky…BOARD UP! Don’t get into a pissing contest with us on endurance!  You may be impressed and amused by your fortitude in having multiple hurricanes that have passed through your neighborhood. By your record, it looks like you had Isaac in 2003, Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012.  WOW! Whoop-Dee-Freakin’-Doo! What a testament to your resilience…by the way, can you see my tongue in my cheek? No? Then how about taking a gander at the photos below to show REAL resilience. (And one more thing, Einstien, the sandbags only work IF THE DOOR IS CLOSED!)
Frances Ivan Charley JeanMeanwhile, back in Florida, these hurricanes all took place in 2004 within weeks of each other, and both the plywood and the building “keep on keepin’ on”!

If you can’t read it, its says:  GO AWAY

1. Charlie

2. Frances

3. Ivan & Jeanne

4. Sale

Now THAT’S funny!
Florida Boards windowsWe try to take it with a grain of salt, batten down the hatches and roll with the punches. We’re used to y’all making fun of us, using Florida as the punchlines to your jokes and pretending that you don’t rush down here for Spring Break!  Floridians just make the best of it and know that even a shitty day in Paradise is better than a urine scented subway ANY DAY!

So with the very real concern that your subways will be flooding (and washed clean of the urine…and hopefully take the smell with it) we who do this regulary are actually saying a prayer for you.  Although you don’t know this, we really do care about you and don’t wish a hurrican on anyone  So to the bully who always busts our statewide ass, be safe, be strong and know this little snippet that we’ve learned over the years…

JIM CANTORE NO LONGER PUTS HIMSELF IN THE WORST PART OF THE STORM…that’s left for the new kids on the block…He’s now in the NY subway, so watch out New Jersey and Connecticut!

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Use Your Inside Voice…The One Inside Your Head – Reduex

NOTE TO MY FAITHFUL READERS:  CANCER MAKES YOU CRAZY.  DON’T IGNORE IT, DON’T FIGHT IT AND DON’T BE EMBARRASSED BY IT!  JUST DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO TO FEEL BETTER!  ANTIDEPRESSANTS CAN BE YOUR FRIEND…AND DON’T LET PEOPLE JUDGE YOU BY YOUR FRIENDS!

APRIL 2012 CALENDAR.aspx copyThe lower portion of this post is one I wrote in mid-April of this year.  At the time, Steven was trying to be his own doctor.  And, since he aims high, the specialty he chose was Psychiatry.  He decided to take it upon himself to discontinue some of his meds, decrease dosages in others and in general, just mix it up enough to throw me into a tizzy.  At the time, he was under the (mistaken) impression that he didn’t really need any mood altering supplements because he felt so good.  Unfortunately, he didn’t think it through, and couldn’t see that the reason he felt so good was the mood altering supplements.  Hence, his desire to re-dose himself!  (FYI – his proclivity for doing this has something to do with MY need for mood altering drugs!)

And then I wrote this piece…and it hit the fan.  The post had his panties in such a wad that I deleted it because it caused him so much stress.  Hmmm?  Should that have been a clue?  I’m thinking it hit the nail on the head back then.  And since I’m about to re-post a deleted post, I’m thinking that nail has popped back out and needs hitting again, so hang on to your hats, kids…because Steven’s panties might be about to wad up again…and the ass-sucking that causes panty wadding could just effect the weather in your area!

WHERE'S WALDO?  WHERE'S MY CHECKBOOK? WHERE'S MY MARTINI?

WHERE’S WALDO? WHERE’S MY CHECKBOOK? WHERE’S MY MARTINI?

Recently, we reached that period of unemployment where money is getting really tight, our health insurance has been gone for 6 months now and after self paying for medical tests and a few office visits, it’s time to restock all the meds we smartly started to hoard when we knew my job and health insurance were in jeopardy.  Until yesterday, I had decided to pull a Steven and just discontinue one of the expensive depression meds that I have been taking since I realized that HIS cancer was making ME crazy.

However, yesterday was a turning point for me when I took a running dive into the basket portion of the phrase “basket case”.  Suddenly my stress was sooooo overwhelming that I couldn’t stop crying.  Luckily, I was in the office of the manager of my shrink’s practice when I cracked.  I was trying to work out the problems with fees and prescriptions when I went off the deep end, and Pat recognized my problem immediately.  So she did some quick calculations, miraculously found a credit on my account that almost covered the cost of a visit with the doc, and set me up with an appointment opening that just magically appeared, to see the man with the magic pill pad, for later on in the same day.  BTW, this doc also has a magic way of chatting that makes me realize I’m NOT crazy!

TEETERING ON THE EDGE

TEETERING ON THE EDGE

And once again, another one of our wonderful caregivers came to my rescue.  He talked me down off the ledge, prescribed me a newer drug that comes with free samples and company rebates as it gets introduced into the market, and more importantly turned on the light at the end of the tunnel.  Steven, on the other hand, is still on self imposed 1/4 doses of meds that he needs.  I know he still needs them because he’s been acting snippy…and I know snippy leads to bratty which leads to ass-hole-y.  So I’m re-posting this.  Take that, Mr. “I’m OK”!  And this time I’m not deleting the post….because you’re not…OK!  So here we go again.My post from April 2012:

voices in my head signUSE YOUR INSIDE VOICE…THE ONE INSIDE YOUR HEAD
Surviving cancer is awesome.  It’s a gift.  It’s a miracle. It’s a rebirth.  And just like any birth, there are always a few dirty diapers along the way!  This rebirth of which I speak  brings the relearning many of life’s lessons… Ahhh!  There’s the rub.  Because in many cases, some of those life lessons were never learned the first time around, so you can imagine how full my plate gets at times!  We’re talking Thanksgiving full!  Which is wonderful when you think of all the great things that come with Thanksgiving…and really uncomfortable when you think of the bloated, exhausted, gassy feeling that comes when you’ve eaten too much.

We’ve made many changes to the way we choose to live our lives now.  We try so hard to avoid stress and conflict.  But that simple act can backfire like an Edsel sometimes.  One of the biggest conundrums is Steven’s new found, and sometimes misguided, need to avoid bottled up feelings.  He was always pretty transparent in his feeling before the lymphoma.  Even when he kept his mouth shut, he has no poker face so it was easy to figure him out.  But now, his thoughts come spewing out like a champagne cork on New Year’s Eve whenever he feels stress.  And no matter how ill timed his diarrhea mouth might be, he stands by the reasoning that he does it for his health.  Then I get that bloated, exhausted, gassy feeling as I watch things crumble.

Somewhere in Steven’s youth, his parents were busy during the time they should have been teaching the finer points of social communication.  It’s not that he doesn’t communicate well, quite the contrary.  He sells commercial and residential real estate, he can talk, he can negotiate, he can make deals.  He can make deals with indiviuals, families, banks, and situations involving one lawyer, two lawyers or four lawyers.  In business, he’s the bomb.  He just never learned exactly when to use tact, when to use a gentle approach, when to use that soft ‘inside’ voice and when to just say it in his head and keep his mouth shut when it comes to non-business situations.  And that was before cancer.  Now he’s a ticking mouth bomb just waiting to go off!

RULES OF LEROY JETHRO GIBBS

RULES OF LEROY JETHRO GIBBS

So here’s the thing that cancer survivors need to know.  Just because you’ve gotten a second chance at life does not mean that you don’t have rules.  You still need to be polite in socially accepted ways.  You don’t need to bottle up feelings, but you don’t need to blurt either.  With this rebirth comes the relearning and it’s part of the deal.  You may have to learn to do things differently…or you MAY just have to learn the thing you missed the first time around.  But either way, there is a learning process and you don’t get a free pass just because you have or had cancer.  Suck it up tumor tykes, your “get out of jail free” card was the miracle of being granted another chance to live.  There is nothing on that card that says you get to live without rules. 

So this is my Rx prescription for all cancer patients who feel like stressful situations are building up toxins in your system.  Take a chill pill and then do what the rest of us do when Thanksgiving dinner comes to an end.  If you’re bloated, take a walk, get some exercise, at the very least, unbutton your pants and take a deep breath.  If you’re exhausted take a nap, rock out with your iPod or find some mindless task to lull you into a relaxed state.  And if you’re feeling like you’re going to explode, instead of blurting out something stupid to someone you love, just let a big one rip.  From what I understand, a fart is just God’s way of letting you get the shitty feeling out.  And once it dissipates, it’s over.  No harm, no foul.

PS – The original post was written after Steven went off on Alexis and Matt.  Sorry, kids!  The next self-prescribed dose change, Steven went off on Brandi.  Sorry, Brandi!  I don’t know who’s next…but I’m pretty sure it’s coming.  Sorry, World!

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