Three Fake Holiday Cards

 Dear Bill C,
I know, right?
Yes, Karma IS a Bitch.

Here is a new cigar.
Let me put this cigar where I want.
Now sit down, and smoke it.
It is fresh, I promise.


______________________________________________________________
Dear Kelly,
Are you SURE you don’t have an eating disorder?
How can you be superwoman all the time?
I’m more than a little worried about you.
Please have Mark or Regis call me or even the new guy.

You look high strung, very high-strung.

 No, you can’t do it all, all the time.
Your body and your mind can only take so much.
Please, slow down, you’ve already accomplished enough.
Enjoy life, just turn down the speed, turn the speed down WAY LOW.
***************************************************************************************************************************
Dear Robin,

You are the one we can’t forget, even though we didn’t even know you. We thought we did but you were deep beneath your laughing exterior.  We admired you, you made us laugh, you made us cry. We are still crying at the loss of you, suicide is so angry, so shocking to your fans. I remember gasping out loud and I couldn’t breathe when someone told me the devastating news of your death. By hanging. I’m even shaking my head now, as if was new all over again. It will always be new.

We are so sorry that you had to go through with MS but hey, couldn’t you have talked to Michael J. Fox first? I guess not, it’s a moot point, Robin, I hope you are not in pain, I hope you are romping around Heaven making people laugh, you are probably the best comedian up there that they have seen in a while. Say hi to Joan Rivers from us, the world is a much sadder place now. We miss you and Joan.
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Just A Tiny Bit Of Cancer

Overview of the thyroid system (See Wikipedia:...

Overview of the thyroid system (See Wikipedia:Thyroid). To discuss image, please see Talk:Human body diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Demi, one of my oldest best friends has just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “The good kind of cancer” as she was told. “If you are going to get cancer, have thyroid because it is contained.” It’s not like breast cancer or bone cancer or ovarian cancer and it’s not pancreatic so be thankful for what you have. But, it’s one weird way of thinking even though I guess I can understand it. From what these doctors have said she has the “good” kind of cancer but she’s not feeling so happy.

She had waited a good two and a half weeks for the results from her thyroid biopsies. They weren’t unclear, they were short-staffed and it was around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Try not to be sick around the Holidays, please.  I did research for her especially from my neighbor across the street, who had gone through the same, exact process six years ago.  She said and I quote:”If I can give any advice, I would tell her not to take the chance that I did and only have half the thyroid removed. If there is suspicion of cancer, let them take the whole thing out. You don’t really need your thyroid anyway.” I totally agreed, because if it was cancerous, why have two separate surgeries?

Coming from my family where three out of three of us are on Synthroid (brand name only which is like a Bible to us) I talked to my friend daily. She had slide after slide of her thyroid tested without surgery, all results came back “inconclusive.” What the hell is “inconclusive” anyway? Who likes “inconclusive?” You sure can’t celebrate but there’s no reason for weeping. Inconclusive is just that, to me, basically a shrug of the shoulders signifying “we have no idea,  could go either way “60 percent chance there is no cancer, 40 percent chance there is” quoted top specialists at both Memorial Sloan Kettering and St. Francis Hospital in New York according to my friend.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve she gets the call from her surgeon and it IS cancer. I stop breathing, I am in shock and so is she. I remember saying to her “Wait, what?” She tells me again. We are both in shock. So now she waits, until the puffiness around her scar from her first surgery goes down before she goes in again for the rest of her thyroid to be removed and a nodule to be removed as well. More surgery, more anesthesia, more pain. It was the first time that she and I, usually pessimistic, chose to be positive and optimistic and spiritual. The one time. As soon as I heard the news, I looked at my husband and said “see what happens when I am optimistic?” He replied dryly: “I was waiting for that….”

I knew my best friend, stubborn, beyond stubborn,would not heed my neighbor’s advice or mine. If it didn’t NEED to come out it was staying inside her body. I can understand that (well, I cannot) but I knew she felt this way. This dear woman will not even take an aspirin or any type of medicine unless she absolutely is forced too. Compared to her I am a junkie waiting for Methadone. Having Fibromyalgia I know pain, all too well and even with prescribed medicine it does nothing for the pain.

When she told me that she did, indeed, take the pain medicine in the hospital and stayed overnight I was in surprised but happy she was open-minded. Now, post surgery, her surgeon is getting annoyed at her repetitive questioning. You know that tone: “AS I SAID BEFORE…” not good. But, good for my friend that she keeps asking until she gets her answers. Way to go, girlfriend.

She has another three weeks to go until the next thyroid surgery. This time, I’m wearing black, I’m feeling negative, doomed and totally pessimistic. Bad news all around. We both are. We deserve it. That’s what best friends are for.

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Something Was Wrong, It Was Me

High Anxiety

High Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It arrived every evening like a suspicious stranger, its presence like black fog slipping under the door. It was deceiving at first, mist, started slowly and then it changed in a split second and attacked me. I felt like I was being stabbed with an ice pick, repeatedly, the chill of cold anxiety running up and down my spine. The goal apparently was to shock me and knock me totally off-balance. It won, I didn’t stand a chance.  I don’t know why it came. I certainly didn’t invite it nor could I prevent it and its malicious presence only showed itself to me after dark.

I don’t know why it happened and I never completely understood it but the displeasure was here, every single night. I tried every trick I knew: deep breathing and meditation, but I did not stand a chance, it felt like I had been swept up by a tornado. Actually, I  lived in the eye of that tornado, I felt helpless, yes, out of control, out of control, out of control…

In past years during this same time period I felt sad, weepy. In the past eleven years I have known grief and a feeling of longing but not anxiety. Major life events happened, I felt loss , my dad was deceased but fear? This year without the regular Thanksgiving plans, control escaped me and anxiety with its octopus legs strapped me in and squeezed me so tight I could not breathe properly. Maybe Thanksgiving, without check lists and red lines crossed off made me feel undone. Would it be five people or nine? Last minute? I used to be so flexible, what happened to me? I missed feeling in charge, in control. I was alone in the world, it put me off-center, dizzy with fright.

I had trouble sleeping and eating and with my chronic pain disorder, Fibromyalgia, I questioned if this could have been a flare-up? Very possibly but I don’t know. The physical pain is the same but the IBS and the anxiety are on over drive.  Anxiety rolls in my stomach like one of those slippery aqua blue water park slides that I hate, wet,  flying down way too fast. I went on one of those once when my children were little and pleaded me to go on one of the rides with them. Trying to be a good mother and show them that fear should not stand in one’s way I relented, seeing their shiny little faces. Big mistake. I laid on my back and flew down the twisting spiral of hell screaming all the way down only to see them at the bottom, laughing. “Why did you lie on your back, Mom, didn’t you know that is the fastest way to go down?” OF COURSE NOT!!!

I felt like I have been on that water slide for at least two weeks except in my head and my body. I’m in my own zone of panic. Nothing worked, nothing helped, my last resort was to try to listen to music which has helped in the past. No luck. Maybe I’m just so excited that tomorrow I will be seeing my children, home for the holiday? Maybe I am feeling out of control not knowing if we will be five or nine people? Or maybe the last four, stressful weeks have finally caught up to me: my husband got laid off, I had to have painful uterine biopsies and on the way to my doctor’s appointment I had a flat tire. I found out my friend and her husband both needed surgery, I took on my friend’s problems too.

Maybe I’m anxious now because I couldn’t allow myself to be anxious before. The food lists are really not important, there will be plenty of food, no matter who comes. My friends will be fine. My husband will eventually find a job and we are not living out on the streets. My tests results came out perfectly. AAA apologized for dropping my call, twice and they paid for the private road side assistance. I’m taking a deep breath, it feels good. All of a sudden, I feel like listening to music and I’m getting a little tired. That’s got to be a good sign. I hope.

*Carry on Tuesday: A few of my favorite things

English: Breat Cancer ribbons

Wherever I go, I arrive early. Not on time like most people but about twenty minutes before my scheduled appointment. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no rush to be in any doctor’s office, especially this doctor. I think ‘I just want to be there and get it over with.’ The walls are pale pink, the chairs alternate between fuchsia and plum, first one than the other, all around the room. When I am here I just want to re-arrange the chairs, put all the fuchsia together and then the plum or put all the chairs in the middle of the room and stack them up. I know this room well. This morning I sit in the waiting room with a woman named Mary, she is here alone too. Once in a while a husband, boyfriend, lover, brother comes too. I sit here with my anxiety waiting for the nurse to call my name.

My doctor is the product of two old hippies, his first name is Pond. No really, I couldn’t make that up if I tried. Pond enters the examining room and I automatically sit straight up, with the blue hospital gown open in the front. He is a breast surgeon that I see every every year. He examines my breasts, first one than the other; I wish he would close his eyes but mostly he stares into space. He starts talking about his vacation in the Hamptons and I shush him, telling him to concentrate. He laughs and says “It’s a good thing I’m not chewing gum, right?” I say a quick, terse yes. I am waiting for him to say, the usual breezy, “it’s all good” but this time he goes over and over one spot on my right breast and kneads it as if he is making bread. I become perfectly still and feel freezing cold in less than one second.

I pick up on another vibe in the room that has changed; I know something is wrong. He straightens up and in his bright blue eyes there is a new hue of concern. His face is still unreadable but his forehead now has deep wrinkles. I have never seen that before but I have always dreaded it. “There’s a mass, ” he says. He has me feel what he feels, but I barely want to touch my body since there seems to be an intruder there, a most unwelcome guest. This is a feeling I had before when I needed a biopsy of a lump, thirty years ago. I was very young then and very naive.  I remember my parents drove up from New York to Boston to stay with me while I waited for the results. Dear God, those feelings of fear and panic come back immediately.

Now, I am a postmenopausal woman but before I was a youngster, a youngster in shock. I remember going to the doctor with my best friend. ‘It would be nothing,’ we thought but I ended up needing surgery though the lump turned out to be benign. I remember staring into the mirror and drinking coffee, day by day, early in the morning of my one bedroom apartment and wondering how I could still drink coffee normally and function at work with this huge secret.

I have to focus now but I can’t; crazy things go through my mind like the scene in Mary Poppins with the chimney sweeps dancing. I see Lassie in the closing credits where he puts his paw up and remember that my sister and I always loved that part the best. I try to remember the lyrics of a song I just bought on iTunes that reminds me of my teenagers but my mind goes blank.

The nurse schedules me to come back in a few days for a needle biopsy, that is familiar too. I try to remain perfectly still, trying to clear the thoughts and panic clouding my mind but it is virtually impossible. What can I focus on, I ask myself? My daughter’s blue eyes, my son’s olive complexion, my husband’s kiss on top of my head, my sister and I posing for photographs on a rooftop in Brooklyn Heights, my mother’s soft hands. I try to picture my puppy Lucy but the images change to my deceased dog, Storm, who died unexpectedly and dramatically of cancer of the spleen. I can only try to remember highlights of my past favorite things. It’s my only chance of survival: I remember the free trip to Hawaii when we were upgraded to first class, the small town of Roses near Barcelona, Spain. My favorite memory, sunsets at  Cape Cod when the children were young, when we were all young. I try to imagine these things to steer my mind away from the doctor and nurse talking to me about scheduling a possible biopsy of my breast tissue yet I can’t remember one thing they said. As soon as you feel like you are a patient, you become one. I feel weak and tired, sore, and very, very cold even though it is 93 degrees outside and humid.

I need to drive home, alone, in my car down the parkway that winds and bends dramatically. How can I calm myself down enough to do this and not crash my car into a tree? I have no idea. I turn on the engine and on automatic pilot, I just point my car in the right direction. Luckily, the car seems to take over and I am just a passenger at the wheel, driving slowly, steadily, on my way home.

*I wrote this last night before my appointment. While some of the facts are true, the end and some details are all FICTION.

2011 in 12 Sentences

HERE’S HOPING FOR A BETTER 2012

old house

January 2011, I’m so damn cold, I can’t get warm.

February 2011, I’m still so friggin cold and I hate the ice.

March 2011, Weeping because my son is graduating High School

April 2011, Stress in the family, college stress, grandma stress, she feels poorly

May 2011, A two-week vacation in Spain with my husband, heaven (except for the pick pocketing incident)

June 2011, My son graduates, more tears, but he got into a good college and he is happy, he works at his old camp, away the whole summer.

July 2011, Husband and I are stressed because daughter is not working

August 2011 Husband breaks Achilles tendon, needs surgery, I drive alone to bring son to college. We plan for a new kitchen and instead our house falls apart, termites, carpenter acts, wood rot, deception. We have to move and share one room with daughter and dog in a hotel. (For over 3 months.) Daughter starts to look at colleges. Husband is out of commission for over three months, on crutches.

September 2011 It cost us financially, emotionally and physically, we are all depressed.

October 2011 My birthday sucked, August September, October sucked, most friends forgot about us, broken promises, “out of sight, out of mind?”

November 2011 Life still sucks.

December 2011 Still in hotel for first half of the month, back home in second half. No money for Christmas presents. The house is still a construction site; but at least we’re home. Gratitude and love for those who helped us and invited us, never will be forgotten.

Can’t wait to say good-bye to 2011.

Can you blame me?!

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Grumpy, Sleepy, Droopy, Cranky? Yes, That’s Me

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Image by Jenn and Tony Bot via Flickr

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a long time and I want sleep NOW! I need a good night’s sleep because I have Fibromyalgia and an auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and a tendency towards anxiety when sleep deprived. Lately I feel I have jet lag every day even though I haven’t gone on an airplane or visited fascinating foreign cities. I feel bad: achy limbs, stiff muscles and joints that roar with pain. My eyeballs ache, the soles of my feet throb, even my finger nails, unpolished and raw, hurt.

We have been living in one hotel room, my husband, my daughter our dog and I for the past six weeks. We’re doing the best we can since our house has been destroyed by rotted wood, termites and carpenter ants. It’s a horrible situation not to mention the emotional and financial stress. We have stress layered on stress.

We get along fine and try to respect each other except for one annoying factor: cell phones. I don’t understand this generation of teenagers that get text messages all hours of the day and night. My daughter’s alarm, also from her phone, shrieks loudly, picture loud buzzing bees meeting chain saws every ten minutes. It’s hard to go back to sleep after that, my husband and I are old now. We can’t just fall back asleep like our children can.

We drink free coffee from the hotel stand in the morning and snack on food we have in the room and then we have one meal, dinner, out. We can’t afford to eat three meals out a day nor do we want to. I dream about being back in our old kitchen planning a simple meal. When you have to eat out all the time, it’s not that much fun.

We have a favorite diner and it has a dozen pages of every single meal you could want and we still go from page to page not wanting a darn thing. We eat out of boredom, planning where we want to go to dinner can take hours. It’s alright, we have nothing else to do. My husband is still on crutches so during the day I drive him places he needs to go. His ruptured Achilles tendon is healing but very slowly. It’s been five weeks for that too. Why do bad things happen around the same time? Or is it just us?

I cannot see my computer keyboard, my eyes are closing, eyelids thick, thoughts are mixed up and frazzled. Our dog who now rests on the bed is snoring softly; even she knows that 5am is way too early to get up and that we still should be sleeping. I try to nap later on, sometimes I dream that we are back in our home but when I wake up I am sad and upset. I have to remind myself, we’re nowhere close. My dog lies next to me, licking my elbow, laying her head on my hand.  Last night she started nibbling on my toes, tickling me enough to get me to laugh. Sometimes, you have to just be grateful for those special moments.

Who We Are, Now

260/365 Days: Who are we in this complicated w...

When I was in my early twenties I had a very painful tonsillectomy. As soon as I was in the hospital I had to change into the soft, faded blue and white hospital gown. I had my plastic ID bracelet branded to my wrist and I became another person. I felt it as soon as I sat in the patients’ lounge; I was no longer the same person, I was a patient. We were in a special club, wishing each other luck, asking each other what surgery we were having, social rules had changed dramatically. There were no expectations here and our uniform bonded us together, the rules had all been changed and we intuitively knew that.

I hadn’t remembered that strong feeling of changed identity until recently, when our house was deemed unlivable due to prior and present damage and destruction. Two days before we supposed to move to a motel, my husband broke his Achilles tendon, We waited hours in the ER and he needs surgery, very soon. He has been on crutches in the motel for the last five nights.

We are living in one room in a neighboring town’s motel. Two parents, our seventeen year old daughter and our nine-year old dog. It’s tight and airless, the windows don’t open. Our clothes, shoes, food and drinks  all over the room.  We look through big, black garbage bags with holes to find things; there is no organization just disarray. Right after that, Hurricane Irene came blustering through, roads are closed, electric wires are down, basements are flooded and fallen trees block the roads. I take our dog on many mini walks outside to see a different scenery than the pulled curtains of our small beige and brown room.

I am not the same person I was. I find myself wearing one or two tee-shirts with sweats, I brushed my hair once or twice in five days. I wear it in a very loose and messy ponytail and I don’t care what I look like. I lack affect. I can barely remember to brush my teeth. I am in another world. I walk differently, talk differently; I am quick to feel anger and frustration and unfortunately, it shows on my face. I am not charming,  I feel happy about nothing, I don’t chat on the phone unless I absolutely have to.

As a chronic patient myself I find it physically and emotionally draining.  I have been working through my pain, I have no choice. There is no one who can help me.  I am trying to hold my family together whose inner souls have invisible cracks; at least the cracks in our house are visible.

When we went back to our house yesterday for ten minutes to pick up more clothing I felt detached and distant. This was not my cozy nurturing home anymore this was a house that had betrayed me.  Tomorrow we check out of one motel and into another, with empty hours in-between. Tomorrow might be my husband’s surgery, we won’t know for sure until the morning. Sleep gives us all pleasure, it’s the passing of time to ease the pain.

Pop Cop: Heidi Montag –Repost

Heidi Montag attending the second issue releas...

Image via Wikipedia

1/24/2010

Heidi WHO?   There has been a lot of media attention about some actress named Heidi and I have no idea why. Her name and tons of photos of her have been shown relentlessly on TV and articles have been written about her in all the gossip rags. Why? Supposedly, this  TV” star”( and I use that term VERY loosely) recently had ten cosmetic surgical procedures done in one day. She’s getting all this media attention for THAT? Now, won’t that certainly assure her of getting her a star on Hollywood Boulevard…..? Not.

Frankly, I don’t give a crap about Heidi Montag and all her surgeries.  The only people who SHOULD be concerned and involved are her mother, husband, best friend and the psychiatrist she apparently really needs to meet.   I could care less whether Heidi Montag or Jane Fame have ten surgeries in a day,  let them have 20 procedures for all I care. Can’t we just keep it under wraps and not give her this shameful publicity?  In my opinion, I think she needs serious psychiatric help instead of  fame.  I read that she was/is on a tv show with some dude, Spencer Pratt. From what I have read, I thinks she is married to him but there’s a bit of controversy regarding that.  Incredible Hall of Fame. Fabulous resume too.

Heidi,  you famous thing. Apparently you are an actress so why don’t we  just put you in the same category of say, the invincible Meryl Streep while we are at it? The difference? Meryl Streep deserves to be famous; Meryl Streep is an unbelievable actress and a true star. A woman I would be honored to meet, an icon.   Heidi -Who, in my opinion should get help for her mind, not her body. Does anyone else hear the word Dysmorphic syndrome?  And, why, why, when girls are just getting exposed (finally) to full-figured models and “real” women are we showcasing this person?  Think, people, think. Do you think it’s a good message?  Right. NO, it isn’t. I’m all for freedom of speech but really?    TMZ,  I actually really like you but come on, even you?

Heidi, and I quote, says that “she feels like plastic”and basically, she is plastic, from top to bottom and ten times over.   She says she is not addicted to plastic surgery, umm, ok if you say so but I beg to differ. If you want to emulate Barbie, fine. Barbie is a GOOD role model compared to you. She has different types of careers and areas of expertise. She can be a veterinarian or a pilot, or a brain surgeon, a mom or an Olympic gold medalist.

Heidi-Who on the other hand? I’ve got it.  She will be a contender for the silver medal in the Nip/Tuck category of the Olympics. For representing a really bad role model to others,  and a disturbing image of herself.