Monday, March 20, 2017

The bad thing about thinking

This morning I remembered what it was like to undergo treatment for lymphoma with chemotherapy.
I sat in a comfortable reclining chair. The nurse pushed aside my sweater to gain access to the port that is still in my body a few inches away from my heart. There is a tube of some kind that extends to my neck and some vein I don't remember there. A big one. Sometimes after all this time, the nurses that flush this port can't get any blood from it, which makes me wonder if it has sealed up. I'd like it out, but that would require surgery and I do not want to go under anesthesia again.

The poison dripped through me. Sometimes I could feel it burning. Sometimes, like the very first time, I could feel it tingling in my pubic region. It was unpleasant, but I stuck it out.
After that very first time, I got terribly sick and vomited into the toilet at home. Herb wouldn't let me stay in the hospital after undergoing a poison drip for 13 hours because he was afraid I'd catch some OTHER disease. So I came home and puked my brains out.
The next day, I got some medicine that relieved the nausea and vomiting. I got it every month because we had good insurance coverage. I doubt I could get it again as it cost about $900 a dose.

I met some nice people every 15 days when I got my treatments. I would just start regaining my sense of taste when I'd lose it all over again. Some nice people came to visit me and brought me flowers and chocolates which I could not eat.
I lost 70 lbs. I have since found most of it again.

People, family, friends, acquaintances, the ladies at the doctors and nurses...all were wonderful to me. I can never thank them enough for all the kindnesses they bestowed on me.

But I cried this morning as I remembered the pain. Your bones ache. Your insides ache. You have little normal senses...things stink or they taste like straw or your body stinks or heats up and burns or freezes, sometimes all at once. You fight. You cry more. You lose your hair, your flesh hangs from your body, you get a tan, you can barely move some days.
And nobody, nobody who has not undergone chemotherapy the exact same way you have--nobody bloody understands what you are going through.

So I cried at memories.
I didn't want to cry, nor did I want to remember.

I do know what I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Ever.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The next list

A few days ago, while feeling particularly sorry for myself, I jotted down all the things wrong with me, physically, that is. Every single little twitch and pain and unnormal thing that's been bothering me.
The list is quite long, and I didn't even mention those biggies that I've been dragging along with me that probably are the causes of these little pains in the butt.

I won't list them here.
There are FIFTEEN things.

Probably, they can be written off with reference to my advancing age and the chemotherapy that saved my life but knocked me for a loop.

But they're all there, annoying me, holding me back, causing me pain and preventing me from living a happy life.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Conference next weekend

Next Friday, St. Patrick's Day, is the first day of the Liberty States Fiction Writers' conference.
I don't do much there...but I did get my hair done so I wouldn't look like a bag lady. The way I figure it, bag ladies are too poor to have their hair done, using whatever funds they may have to sustain themselves with food, etc.
So, I got it done by my friend Debbie. She pulls strands of hair through holes in a little tight fitting cap on my head and bleaches the hell out of it.
Yes, this is the best selfie I have ever taken. Karyn said it is terrible. I think it's rather complimentary!

Monday, March 6, 2017

That day

There comes a time when every single bit of energy and patience--mostly patience--is drained from one's body.
There's a scene in an old movie, Jason and the Argonauts, when on the island of Talos, the giant awakens when someone takes a javelin (actually a pin from a broach) from a tomb/temple. Talos is one of the Titans, only he is a giant bronze statue on top of the tomb.
The men from the Argos have been warned not to take anything but food and water from the island.  So, when one of the dudes, I believe it is Herakles, walks off with this pin he thinks to use as a javelin, the mighty giant comes to some sort of bronze life and goes after the guys from the ship.
Jason--mind you, he's a sort of hero in charge of the search for the Golden Fleece--realizes he can't fight the statue which towers over everyone and everything. But he's clever. He's been told by Hera to look to the giant's ankles. No, this isn't about Achilles, though we all know what was wrong with his ankles. This is about Jason and his need to defeat the bronze Ray Harryheusen Titan.
He scrambles between Talos's bronze sandals and sees a round screw-in plug. After great grunting and exertion, Jason opens up the plug and out pours a river of reddish goo. This stuff is what has powered the living statue and eventually, once it is drained sufficiently, the statue crashes and becomes immobile. The remaining crew of the Argos get back on the ship, except for one young fellow.
Herakles, feeling bad that it was his fault the giant awakened and the rampage happens and this one young guy is missing, decides to remain on the island and search for the kid, thus leaving the crew to carry on to Colcos for the fleece.
Down one hero.
But what I'm referring to mostly is how the huge, mighty bronze colossus gets all the goo drained from it and becomes immobile.
That's me. I am Talos.
I think I need some alone time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

These Liz Taylor as Cleopatra eyebrows

What's with eyebrows on models currently?
Are these exaggerated eyebrows some new craze? Is there some new product that makes eyebrows look as if they are stenciled on?
Remember when people had fits over Brooke Shields' bushy brows?
She survived without them being painted on. Did quite well.
And then there is the Jean Harlow pencil brows. I'm not a eyebrow goes that way naturally and the plucking involved must have been painful.
Unless the brows were shaved with a razor.
Dangerous to say the least.
I think I have to blame the Kardashians. With their generally dark hair, I would guess their faces would look rather naked with trim eyebrows.
Yet another thing to blame those poor girls for.
(It took me several pluckings back in my teen years to shape my eyebrows. I have never had anyone complain about them, after the swelling went down.)
And this photo was taken after the chemo that destroyed my eyebrows and lashes...I'd say nearly a year later judging from the length of my hair. Half an inch every month....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

More wonderfully fake relatives

Digging up dead relatives that never existed is a little game I play to make my life seem more worthwhile than it really is.

The greatest thing about these non-existent relatives is that they are surrounded by riches and fame and notoriety, yet they somehow manage to avoid or completely miss the spotlight. Which, when it comes to cleaning ancient toilets or fixing lunch for a gangster, isn't that bad an idea.

But, as it usually does, another one of my fake ancestors came to mind last night when I was trying to fall asleep. History gives him the name Noroaster but we refer to him as the sheep boy.

Good ol' Noroaster made his drachmas tending the sheep of richer Bethlehemenians back in the day. He had plenty of responsibility--watching over the cash crop of lambs and mutton back when the innocent animals were used in sacrifices in the temples that riddled the dry desert towns. By day he would watch them gambol in the field. By night, he would snuggle up with some of the fluffier ones and sleep, vigilantly with one eye open waiting for the occasional lion or panther or sheep rustler. Evidently there were plenty of sheep rustlers back in the day.
The sacrifice business was going pretty good there for awhile. If you wanted to appease the Lord God Yahweh, you killed an innocent lamb and waited for Yahweh to respond. Somehow. I'm willing to bet the temple priests ate lots and lots of lambchops, but I digress.

Noroaster's one misclaim to fame was that one night as he was drifting off to sleep, still with one eye open, he noticed a big hubbub over on the next hill. The sky was filled with fuzzy blurs, blaring trumpets and lovely singing in Latin. Being fairly nearsighted, things were blurry, and he had his ears nestled in the woolly coat of a big ol' mama sheep, so he didn't pick up what exactly was being sung.

He noted the annoyingly bright light of this huge star twinkling over head, but rather than investigate, he snuggled back down, pulled a lamb close to his shoulders and went back to sleep.

Reminds me of the famous line from the movie Endless Summer. (Shoulda been here yesterday, friend. Waves were terrific.) You just missed it.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I won't eat that

A true trial in my life.
This one won't eat this stuff. The other will eat one thing on that imaginary list, but adds more things on her own list.
Personally, I won't eat mangoes, lamb (makes me quite ill) or things that are spicy hot. Peppers, red, green, yellow or chilies--not good. Nasty tasting to me.
So, I can sort of understand why there are certain things my offspring would not and still, in their advanced ages, do not eat.
But really.
One won't eat fish unless it is with chips and fresh. One won't eat sauce on spaghetti but insists on marinara sauce for her mozzarella sticks. One won't eat fruit. One gags at the mere thought of feta cheese, yet yonks down all sorts of cheeses, even smelly ones or oozy ones.
Neither will eat sandwiches.
One hates jelly. The other has to have super salty food.
Can you imagine how difficult it was to feed them when they were babies?
I used to be a good cook. Before the kids came along, I more or less outdid myself nightly. Recipe collections? I have about 50 cookbooks and have used them all. Julia Child. Justin Wilson, Jacques Pepin, Betty Crocker, an assortment of books with recipes from Europe...all of 'em. Seafood, colonial American recipes, southern, Mexican...and about 30 different kinds of cookies at Christmas.
Then the babies came and our food choices went very PLAIN. Sigh. Buttered noodles. Hot dogs (one has to have Kosher beef ones, not the pork and beef ones their father loves) cut into coins. Chicken nuggets, hamburgers with cheese. Toasted cheese. And they insist on yellow American cheese, which I think tastes faker than the white kind.
Now, my husband only has a few things he won't eat. Mixed vegetables and pirogies top his rather short list. He will eat burnt food, too. He makes his own prodigious breakfasts every day, always with some sort of meat included. I don't do meat for breakfast.
Why am I writing about this? Because it is part of my life. In my books and stories, I feed my characters well. One book has a chef as the heroine. Another has all the characters living and working above a restaurant.Nobody starves or diets in my stories!
I enjoy food.
Especially pizza and lobster.
I have determined that I could exist for long periods of time on pizza and/or lobster.