Monday, September 18, 2017

Strange Magic

Hello Darlings...

So today began Round 2 of vanquishing El Diablo...

I am happy (very happy) to report I am feeling just fine and no nurses were harmed by me or my excessive glitter throwing (pretend) or hugs (because I got good peeps taking care of me).

My day began with a phone call from Dr. SweetMeds (cause she is sweet..and is in charge of the meds) calling me to see if I would participate in her study of cisplatin.

My questions to her:

1) will it compromise my wellness in any way?
2) will it help you to help others...

her answers:
1)no
2) and yes very much

So yeah, sign me up girl...I got you...let's make life better for all the people fighting this shit...

So I got to the Memorial Hermann Medical building right at 10:30 on the dot as planned, met with Dr. SweetMeds and signed the paperwork and learned that I was to have blood drawn like 8 more times...

hmmmm....

they put an iv in...

ok no biggie...I got this...

and no Osmond records or childhood perfume needed to make me agree to do it...

(I do suddenly have a strong desire to see if they even make Love's Baby Soft anymore...and if so would I buy it?  I mean who doesn't want to smell like some freaky sweet version of baby powder.  Best when worn while sporting some strawberry flavored lip gloss you put on from a roller bottle...and not as strong as "Charlie"...and if you are old enough to remember all of those things let's just say we had a good childhood and let's all find some Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and have a slumber party...)

But I digress...

So after I get my baseline blood draw I jump on the elevator (all the while sherpa-ing my giant bag of stuff, my sewing bag, and my purse...btw the sewing never got touched...le sigh...)

So I jump on the elevator, head down to 27 and get put into a soundproof room for a hearing test which I need because my chemo drug can cause hearing loss.

Now if you have never had an honest-to-goodness real hearing test I shall illuminate to you just what it entails.

First of all, if you have ADD you are screwed.

I have ADD

I was screwed...

Because this test requires focus and if you have ADD and you are put in a room with tiny holes in the walls and nothing to look at except to watch the doctor through the big window which you are not supposed to do so you can't see when she is hitting the buttons and you have plugs in your ears and every time you move the wires move and make a noise so you are distracted by that and you are supposed to be paying attention to hear the beeps...or the sounds...or the words....or the doctor...

(Did that run on sentence make you uncomfortable?  That's what ADD is like except you get "squirrel!" every other word...)

So I'm in the room and plugs (and their noisy wires) are in my ears and I have to respond to the words she is whispering...

then it is time for the beeps...

but in between you hear every single noise that the wires make and you hear your own thoughts in your head...

"was that a beep?"

"pay attention Anice this is very important..."

"I can hear my own breath"

"was that a beep?"

that went on

F
O
R
E
V
E
R

Then I had to repeat back words some recorded dude was saying.

same convo from above goes on in my head^^^

except it was "what word did he just say"

"was that lint or limped?"

UGH

and then more beeps with white noise going on....

F
O
R
E
V
E
R

I mean it was only like 20 minutes but for me, and my ADD it was a test of pure determination not to just scream "squirrel!!!!" and run out of there...

and guess what?

oh this is the BEST part...

I GET TO DO IT EVERY WEEK

I might drive to College Station and steal my son's ADD meds....

or at least have a cup of coffee before and pray that it somehow makes it possible for me to not go insane

I'd bring a shiny object with me to keep me entertained but that will result in me being declared deaf because I will never respond...

So once the hearing test is over I jet back upstairs to start my infusion...

hugs all around as I greet my fabulous nurses who are ready to help me with round 2...

I get the port accessed and the iv put in and then I am told to go to BED 12...

(crying whiny face emoji here)

I hate the beds...

I like the chairs...

but a bed it is and my reward is that I get my awesome nurse Chris to entertain me through the day...

First I get the FUN pre-meds...

the dreaded Devil Devil Decadron was put into me...

I hate that stuff...

What is it?

It's a steroid that basically makes you feel like you can do anything (like a spin class less than 24 hours after having chemo) but it also makes you so hungry you stand before the fridge and negotiate with yourself that olives and chocolate mousse are an acceptable afternoon snack and maybe you should make a cake...

To prevent this I have no cake mix in the house and thankfully hate baking anyway...and there are only healthy things so unless I can hurt myself with some mango slices I think I am good...

After the decadron comes the Zofran (so I won't throw up) and then I get a nice big bag of hydration fluid to prevent kidney damage and to make sure that I get all my steps in on my FitBit because I will be high tailing it to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

Hydration done then Chris brings in the Cisplatin....

I say a little prayer that I won't lose my hearing and that my kidneys will not be damaged and away we go.

My Aunt Jane came to lend moral support and I ate my salad I brought so I would not be tempted to ask her to go downstairs and bring me up a big cheesy sandwich from Au Bon Pain...

The rest of the infusion part went without incident and I donated about a half gallon of blood (not really....more like several tablespoons) to the study and I got all my steps in going to the bathroom repeatedly

Then it was time to go downstairs and Hannibal Lector up and get the radiation (or rads like I like to refer to them).

First I got to see my beloved Dr. Angel...

have I mentioned that I totally love that man?

maybe once or twice?

So we check my vitals and he comes in with a BIG SMILE AND BIG HUGS

I knew something good was gonna happen and sure enough he had GREAT news:

So he tells me he met with the tumor board and presented my case.

Of course I had to interrupt and ask what that was and basically it's all my doctors and their partners who do this life saving stuff...

And I asked him if he informed them that I was a magical unicorn and that was met with a smile and laugh (he knows it...he looks at me and sees rainbows and a shiny horn I am sure...and it's a unicorn horn not my devil horns which are well hidden)

and then he says:

THE TUMOR BOARD AGREES WITH HIM THAT THIS IS HOW TO CURE ME AND I AM GONNA BE CURED!!!!! (well maybe those weren't his exact words but that is what I took from it)

but they did agree this is the way to go and my prognosis looks good...

ok let's have a dance break here...

dance around the room a bit...raise the roof....twerk a bit like Miley...shake your hips...and you in the back there?  Start moving your ass because this is totally danceworthy news...

I'll give you a few seconds more...

and back to reading...

bonus points if you actually DID get up and do a dance...

He then tells me he ran into my friend who I shall refer to as my Atomic Blonde Twin  (she was once his patient as well and she's a total badass gorgeous cancer kicking girlcrush worthy stunning woman---just like me lol).  She told him I write this blog...

let's all be super nice here because he might read it...

I told him he's currently the star of my blog and if he cures me I will dedicate an entire blog to how much I love him and how awesome he is...

he deserves it...

he's gonna make me well and give me a future...

that totally deserves a blog...

Then he told me I was doing good and looked great and let me pout about the fact that Dr. SweetMeds told me no yoga tonight and even let me stomp my foot about it...and was amazed at my ability to have not died from my 90 minute spin class.  I pretty much know he totally thinks I am a CRAZY magical unicorn princess now...

after that I got more blood drawn (bless the poor nurses heart who came down to do it to make sure we got all the blood for the study) and then it was:

TABLE TIME

So on the radiation table I go and I get the mask on and strapped down...

and it was...

not
scary
at
all

the worst part is the lights shining in my eyes when the machine moves...so I kept my eyes closed...and I do my talking to God except my ADD is so on high at this point that my prayers are fragments of praying broken up by "oooo so that's what that looks like now that I am not on my back"...

and there you have it...

I got through this day with the only bad thing being the enormous test of my ability to focus in the hearing test...

And tomorrow and the rest of the week it's just the rads...and next Monday is a long day like today but I can handle it...

I think going into this super happy and confident is helping a lot...and I know the program...and where the bathrooms are....and I love having all that great sonic type ice to put in my water...

I know how to do this...

and I have all of you praying for me and making it better because I can literally feel your love....

So let's all give thanks for the good news from the tumor board that El Diablo is going to go to hell where he belongs (btw my Atomic Blonde Twin told Dr. Angel that I named my cancer that and he totally loves it...)

I feel blessed---I have all of you, I have my amazing doctors and nurses (especially Dr. Angel) and I don't feel the least bit sick at all right now....

I'm lucky...we know the devil we are facing...

I'm happy...today went great and I can handle what is ahead...

So my friends keep those prayers going....pray for my doctors and team...pray for strength for my kids and students...and pray for me and my ADD....

Inspiration Song: "Strange Magic" by ELO...because I feel like today was the result of some strange magic in that despite how crazy it all was it all went really really well...and the strange magic of the chemo and the radiation will cure me...

Bye Darlings---thank you for all the love and support...and the fact that you even read this blog...I mean it...it means the world to me to have you on this journey with me...much love to all of you...



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Be Alright

Hello Darlings...

Well tomorrow is the big day...

ROUND 2

of my little show I like to now call "Getting El Diablo the hell outta me"

Let's play Cancer Jeopardy!

"Alex I will take "Annoying Things" for $600"...

Answer: This annoying thing has bothered Anice for a year...

"What is El Diablo, Anice's uterine cancer"

El Diablo is an asshole because he has stuck around far longer than he was supposed to.

Sorta like my ex...

(ok my ex is not horrible...but there are moments he earns the title of Asshole...)

So basically tomorrow is going to go down like this...I even have it all scheduled out:

10:00  Leave Casa Bonita
10:25  Arrive at 6400 Fannin
10:30  Check in on 29th floor to get blood drawn
10:45-11:00 Blood will be drawn
11:00-11:15 head down to 27th floor and check in with ENT
11:15-12:00 have audiology test as baseline
12:00 head up to 29th floor again
12:00-12:15 get called back to Infusion and get a bed or chair
12:30 or so get port accessed
12:30-4:30 get cisplatin infusion
4:30 go down to 2nd floor and hangout with my radiation peeps
5:45 get sent to first floor to put on designer hospital gown
6:00 get hoisted up onto radiation table and the mask goes on

That's pretty much what most Mondays will look like minus the hearing test and hopefully with less time between radiation and infusion.

And Tue-Fri I will just have radiation...

So yeah, El Diablo is screwing up my days...

I have better things to do than drive up and down 59 (or are we calling it 69 these days?)

I mean I have lots of work to do for our shows and frankly this is eating into my workout schedule and you know that doesn't make me happy....

I remember the days when my kids were little and one of them would get sick and couldn't go to school or Mom's Day Out...I would be so frustrated that my day was messed up...

but then it dawned on me that it was a privilege to be a mom and that my baby did not get sick just to keep me from a fun luncheon or whatever else I was doing that day.

it happened...

a lot...

and so by the time The Cutest Boy in the World tore his ACL and I needed to be home with him round the clock for a week I was happy to have the chance to take care of him...(and to withhold his pain meds until he hit the "send" button on his TAMU application...yes I did that...yes it was mean...yes I am fine with it...)

So even though I really don't have time to sing the soundtrack to "Dear Evan Hanson" or "Hamilton" or "Xanadu" as I travel back and forth to my home-away-from-home 6400 Fannin, I am damn lucky that I get to.

Because El Diablo isn't going away on his own.

I used to refer to this as Princess Cancer but being a princess is not as much of an inconvenience as this has been...but again, I am grateful...I am blessed...

I hate needles.

It is a known fact.

I hate having my blood drawn.

I hate any form of a needle stick.

I used to be terrified of getting diabetes because I wasn't sure I would be able to prick my finger and give myself insulin.

When I was about 10 I got pneumonia.

We were at our ranch in Montana.

It took 30 minutes on a winding mountain road to get to town from our place.

But I got sick enough that it was decided that what I had wasn't a cold but something a little more serious so my dad decided to find a doctor in town to take me to.

They wanted to draw blood.

From my arm.

More specifically from a vein in my arm...

With what appeared to be the most giant needle in the world (it wasn't but to my 10 year old eyes it was)

I was (and still am) a very stubborn child (human).

Especially when it comes to medical things.

(For example---when it was determined that I needed my tonsils out I would not allow a surgeon to touch me other than the OB who delivered me and the local heart surgeon...they flipped a coin to see who yanked the tonsils...the heart guy won but I made the OB be in the room and hold my hand while they put my 5 year old self to sleep...I literally refused to get on the gurney until I saw BOTH of them in my room)

So my 10 year old stubborn self is in Montana with pneumonia and needs a white cell count and I flat refused to give up my arms.

I would have none of it.

My father's patience was wearing beyond thin.

I had negotiated many many treasures as a reward for this blood taking business.

I believe I made him agree to a trip to the A&W for root beer.  And a new Barbie. And a new Osmonds record.  I tried to make him produce those things first but I gave in...

I finally agreed to a needle prick in my finger to draw blood.

But the problem was they needed more blood than that finger prick was gonna give.

I negotiated for the finger prick method despite that and dammit I was going to have my way.

They had to prick each finger TWICE and use a pipette to get the blood but there was no damn way I was going to give them my arm.

My father howled with laughter that I had my fingers all bandaged up after but I got my way...it hurt like hell but I got my way (and my Barbie, Osmonds record, some Love's Baby Soft perfume and the root beer)

and a week later when we returned and I had to have a blood draw again---I gave them my arm...

and tomorrow I will too...the ladies in the lab love my story...and they don't hurt me...so no one needs to reward me with a Barbie, Loves' Baby Soft (I wear Theirry Mugler Angel), or anything Osmond...

I've come a long way from the little girl who made the OB come to the ER to stitch up her hand after her sister shut the car door on her hand.

(and lest you think I had an unnatural fixation on the man who delivered me---we lived in a small town and he was our dear family friend...sort of an uncle to me)

I am more cooperative medically these days but I still insist on all the love and attention my doctors can give me (hence my love for Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar)

So tonight I am packing up my little bag I take to chemo...

In it will be:

my peach soft blanket from GOTT and GOTTESS and GOTTSON
my unicorn stuffed animal from my aunt
my Beanie Baby animal that was a gift from a student
my computer (so I can work)
my phone charger (because my iPhone only holds a charge for like 2 seconds)
some hand sewing (#becausework)
my lunch (a salad so that I don't fall prey to hunger from the devil Dexadron)
my yoga clothes (because I have hopes to catch a flow)
socks
slippers
water bottle

basically I will look like I am moving into the infusion center.

I don't care...I insist on being comfortable...and not wasting my time

I have a calmness about all of it...perhaps its my faith in my doctors and maybe it's because I know the routine. 

Or both.

But I do have great faith that this will work...

because without that faith it can't work...

I've had people tell me I am brave...
strong...
courageous...
a fighter...
amazing...
pretty...

(ok I added the last one for myself...although my sweet doctor tells me so because he has figured out that talking to me like a man and not a doctor works better on me)

I don't quite know if I truly am any of those things but I do know that any of you would be strong, brave, courageous and amazing if you were in my shoes.

When you are facing a challenge you don't know just how strong you can be until you have no choice.

I pray none of you ever faces cancer but if you do please know if I can this ANYONE can...

When I first found out I had cancer I said this to GOTTESS:

I am on a 6 inch ledge on a steep cliff.  There is no way to climb up because it is a sheer rock face. I was dropped on the ledge and didn't climb there.  I can't climb down because there is no foothold. I have no safety net and no safety line. There is a tightrope that leads somewhere but I can't quite see where it goes but it is a taught line and goes somewhere. I can't go down. It's a deep canyon full of rocks. I must get on the tightrope to get off the ledge because I can't stay on the ledge. I have to get on the tightrope and I am terrified of heights.  I have to get on and walk. And I have to look ahead because if I look behind I will lose my balance. and if I run I will lose my balance. So I have to walk slowly and carefully until I get to the other side...

I still feel that way except that I do feel now that I have a safety line and that safety line is my doctors and their knowledge...

I don't know how my body will react to cisplatin.  I handled carboplatin pretty well but it was combined with the devil Taxol so it's hard to know which drug made me feel so awful so I am praying that this one isn't too terrible.

Whatever it is and does to me I will handle it...I have no choice...

So tomorrow I return to the arena...

I've got my Wonder Woman gear with me...

I have battled my foe before...

I know what it feels like to sit in the chemo chair...

I know what it feels like to lie on the radiation table...

I know what it feels like to have my port accessed...

I know what it is like to step onto the 29th floor of 6400 Fannin and see the words "Memorial Hermann Cancer Center"...

I know what it is like to go through the glass doors that say "Radiation Therapy" "A division of the hospital" "Memorial Hermann Cancer Center"...

I know what it is like to ride the elevator down to the first floor and put on a hospital gown and wait to be called for my time on the table...

I know what it is like to go to war with the parking garage....

I know what it is like to pack my chemo back and bring it with me...

I know what it is like to drag around an iv pole with poison coursing through my veins...

I know what it is like to have the machine that feeds the chemo next to me and the sounds it makes...

I know what it is like to be in a room full of those machines and so many sick people that are also receiving chemo...

I know what if feels like to have my Hannibal Lector mask on...

I know what it is like to hear the sound of someone ringing the bell that their treatment is done...

and I now know what it takes to get to the point of ringing that bell and the hell you go through to do it...

and I know that once again I will ring that bell...both upstairs in chemo and down in radiation...

Being a cancer patient is being a warrior...

you battle...

you fight....

you win and you lose...

and the arena may be full of spectators that love you but only you can be on the floor of the arena and fight the battle against the terrible foe...

So tomorrow my Wonder Woman gear will be a sidewalk formal (because it is super comfy like a nightgown) and my battle gear will be my blanket, toys, socks, and slippers...

and my battle trainers are my doctors and nurses...

And I will drive to 6400 Fannin, I will find a damned decent parking spot, I will grab my giant bag and drag it with me to the 29th floor.  I will give blood.  I will ride the elevator down and get a hearing test.  I will go back upstairs and get chemo and then I will end my day in radiation.

I will battle.

I will fight.

I will win.

I'm gonna be alright...

Inspiration Song: "Be Alright" by Ariana Grande...because I love her...and because this song makes me happy...because the words move me...and because I'm gonna be alright...

lyrics:

Say
(Sometimes) midnight shadows
When finding love is a battle
But daylight is so close
So don't you worry 'bout a thing
We're gonna be alright
Hey
We're gonna be alright
Oh yeah, oh yeah
We're gonna be alright
Baby, don't you know
All o'them tears gon' come and go
Baby you just gotta make up your mind
That every little thing is gonna be alright
Baby, don't you know
All o'them tears gon' come and go
Baby you just gotta make up your mind
We decide it
We're gonna be alright
Hey
We're gonna be alright
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Hey
We're gonna be alright
In slow motion
Can't seem to get where we're going
But the hard times are golden
'Cause they all lead to better days
We're gonna be alright
Hey
We're gonna be alright
Yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah
We're gonna be alright
Baby don't you know
All them tears gon' come and go
Baby you just gotta make up your mind
That every little thing is gonna be alright
Baby don't you know
All them tears gon' come and go
Baby, you just gotta make up your mind
We decide it
We're gonna be alright
Hey
We're gonna be alright
Ooh baby, oh yeah
We're gonna be alright
We're gonna be alright, yeah


Bye darlings...I'm gonna be alright...it may take a few more weeks but I'm gonna get there...in my sidewalk formal and Hannibal Lector mask I'm gonna let Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar work their magic and I will be alright...






Saturday, September 16, 2017

If

Hello Darlings...

For so long I have lived in the world of "If"...

"If" has become an excuse of sorts for me...

as in:

"if I divorce my husband I'll be free to find someone better suited to me and I might meet some guys that miss the mark but I will find the right guy in the process"

except that once I divorced him other than a brief relationship I've not met anyone else or gone on any dates...

and so "if" became:

"If I try online dating I might meet a nice man"

except that every guy that contacted me was thoroughly creepy...or a liar...or wanted to move from Miami to be my soulmate...

so, um...no thank you...

I quit the online dating...I was never comfortable with it...and I do not judge anyone who it has worked for and has meet great people through it...it's just not for me...

I once went to a great series of sermons at a contemporary church and the pastor said:

"you will never meet the right person in the wrong place"

for me the "wrong place" is online or taking my single self to a chicken wings place or bar on game day to meet guys...or to accept random men's friendship requests on social media...(and yes I know some single gals who do this and if' that makes them happy go for it but I am not that girl)

nope, that's not me...

so "if" became:

"ok the right guy will come along so in the meantime if I  have a tummy tuck and boob job I will look perfect when he appears"...

I did it...and I looked perfect and natural...

but no man came...

and weight crept on...

so "if" became;

"if I lose some weight I will be more attractive and maybe I'll catch the eye of someone special"...

except the weight kept creeping on, no man appeared, and time passed...

that "if" has been with me for 4 years...

and after a while "if" became:

"If I can just get my son into college I will finally have time to truly pursue a relationship"...

so I spent as much time as possible with him because I knew it was time I would never get to have again and I don't regret that at all...

and then he graduated...

and went to college...

and "If" became:

"if I can only lose this damn weight that won't budge I can finally look great and feel confident when I meet someone"...

but something more sinister was at work...El Diablo had claimed my body and I was a cancer patient less than 3 months after setting up his dorm room....

and then "if" became:

"if I can just survive this I will live"...

and THAT was the hardest "if" of all and the one with the greatest reward...

and after treatment "if" became:

"if I can lose this chemo weight and feel healthy again I can start to live my life again..."

and I DID lose the chemo weight and then some (45 lbs and counting although today, despite a 90 minute spin class, I managed to shovel in a hamburger, some waffle fries, a cookie, and a small bag of chips into my body after the spin class---we might be back to 40 lbs lost tomorrow morning).

and so the weight is coming off and I feel healthy....and I am enjoying life again...

and so "if" became:

"if I can just know I am cured I can think about my future...and maybe NOW I can finally find a wonderful someone to spend time with"...

but I am not cured and El Diablo is still doing his damn best to try and kill me...

but I have Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar in my corner so El Diablo doesn't stand a chance...

and so "if" has become"

"if I can get through these next 6 weeks I will live...and have a future...and the rest will take care of itself but in the meantime I will not let El Diablo stop me"

if El Diablo even tries to take my yoga and spin away from me again I will be furious...

It is totally going to be "Hasta La Vista El Diablo" starting on Monday.

I am so damn tired of "if" and it's mark on my life that I have decided to just cut it out.

Today I got on a spin bike and with 3 of the most amazing spin instructors in the world (yes, I said the world) leading us I did a 90 minute spin class.

I might have been the oldest person in the room...and if I wasn't I was in the top 3 and the only one with cancer.

Because I didn't let "if" stop me...because I could have said "if I didn't have cancer I could do this".

Well "f" cancer...I did it...

it wasn't pretty and I pretty much stayed in the saddle but my feet kept peddling and I went for it...

and almost 1050 calories burned later I am glad I did...

and so "if" became:

"if I eat this hamburger and waffle fries it won't count because I totally killed it in spin"...

and tomorrow when I step on the scale "if" will be:

"if I didn't eat all the junk and drink that dirty martini I would not have gained weight"...

(#sorrynotsorry I'm just gonna let that one go and forgive myself for it)

"if" has ruled me..."if" has kept me from doing things..."if" has made me lie to myself...

Because in the world of TRUE romance and real deal relationships my age, my body, my cancer, and my health are not truly factors in whether or not I meet a great guy...

or have fun at a celebration...
or go to a play....
or have a night out with friends...
or try a new yoga pose or class...
or do a super long spin class...
or say yes to the invitation to do something fun
or travel someplace fun
or go to the museum or movies alone

"if only" needs to be out of my vocabulary...

I can't wait for "Mr. Right" to move forward with my life because he might not ever appear...

He might not be out there for me...

and planning my life around "if" or "maybe" isn't going to work for me anymore because I have been shown that tomorrow is not promised...and I may or may not have a long time to live (and by that I don't mean cancer killing me but Houston traffic just might).

We all let "if" run our lives at times...

"if only I made more money"
"if only I had a nicer car"
"if only I had a better job"
"if only I had taken that offer"
"if only I had gone on that trip"
"if only I had answered that call"

we ALL do it...

If I wait around for all the "ifs" in my life I might not have a life...

and "if" is literally in the middle of the word "LIFE": L-IF-E

and if we keep "if" in the middle of our life we let it control us.

I don't want to be controlled by "if"

I want to live a life that is about loving and living

I can't wait for Mr. Wonderful to make my life better....I need to make my life better...

What "ifs" are in your life?

What can you do to make "if" happen?

What can you do to remove the barriers to your happiness and let life happen?

Today my #girlcrush KuteKim was encouraging us on the bike.  She said something that I heard her say in yoga the other day and it really resonates with me...I hope I get it right but basically she said:

"if you leap---the net will appear"

So if I can just let myself go whatever safety net I need will be there...I just need to have faith in it...

My general practitioner Dr. Beauty keeps telling me to open my heart up to the possibility that the man who might be perfect for me is right in front of me and might be very different from what I THINK I want.

She should know.

After she lost her husband to cancer her mother kept trying to set her up with her (her mom's) neighbor.  Dr. Beauty resisted but knew her mother would never let up so she introduced herself to the neighbor guy and agreed to a date.

On that first date she knew she would marry him...

and bless her heart she also knew that for the rest of her life she would have to put up with her mom having the satisfaction of knowing what was best for her.

that would be a hard pill to swallow but for the right man I think it might be worth having to hear your mom forever say "I told you so"...

So if I only look at blue eyed men who drive big ass trucks I might miss out on a great brown eyed guy who drives a sedan...

I might miss out on a fun night with friends if I am too afraid to be the one single girl at the party...

I might miss out on a great night with my #rideordie crew if I don't want to drive myself (take an Uber Anice...)

I might miss out on so much IF I let IF control me...

and you might miss out on something great IF you let IF control you.

I'm gonna stop letting IF be an excuse and start living

Life may have "if" in it but LIVING and LOVING do not...

Inspiration Song: "If" by Janet Jackson.  Oh such a naughty song...but I love it but no I will not put the lyrics here but you can look them up if you want...

Bye Darlings---if you can stop letting "if" rule you then you can be free...there is no "if" in free...




Thursday, September 14, 2017

Don't Stop Me Now

Hello Darlings...

Well it appears I am in a holding pattern...

I decided not to get too ruffled about it....

I'm waiting to see what my insurance will cover on what I shall call my "Second Ride on the Radiation table" or maybe just Radiation 2.0

Because it is:
Round 2
Second half
2nd Quarter
Part Dos

whatever...

I have spent some time contemplating all of this and having discussions with myself about all of this coming down like it has and I have decided that instead of looking at this as MORE treatment I need to be grateful that I am having this treatment at all...

Because this lovely little cancer in these lovely little lymph glands might not have ever been found if not for the diligence of my Dr. Angel.

When he told me that the cancer was also in my neck I didn't believe him...and I got so mad that no one had mentioned this before and why was I just now hearing about it (back in April)that I was spitting fire.  I literally said "I don't have cancer there" and thought I was dealing with some sort of quack who had looked at the wrong films...

except that he was truly the sweetest man and in the back of my head something was saying "trust him"

Bless his heart he stopped what he was doing and pulled up scans just to prove to me he was right...not because he was being "a man" and had to be right but because he cared enough to show me that what he said was real and true and that I had to face the fact that the cancer had travelled...

And the reason I had not been told I had cancer in lymph nodes in my neck is because no one knew it was there.

I don't often love the fact that I am basically an Oompa Loompa shaped human with short everything but this is one time I LOVE being short...

because basically it is the fact that I am short in my torso means that the CT scan of my abdomen ended JUST ABOVE the lymph glands that contained the cancer.

If I had been a taller human those lymph glands might not have appeared on the scan

They are on the VERY EDGE of the scan...

and because Dr. Angel is an Angel and the best radiology oncologist in the world he didn't just look in my pelvic area---HE LOOKED AT EVERYTHING IN THE SCAN AND SAW THE CANCER

All of that didn't come to my realization until the other day when he was pulling up all my scans and showed me where the cancer still is...I then realized that I might have never known it was there...

So basically being a short Oompa Loompa with a compact body saved my life...and the fact I have Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar ...

So I have decided to no longer hold an ounce of anger at the fact that I still have cancer and I have full gratitude that what might have been missed or overlooked was found and I am blessed by that.  Because El Diablo could still be lurking in my body with no one knowing it is there and it could spread...

and that could kill me...

I'm going to a Peach Outreach benefit in a few weeks...its raising money and awareness for uterine cancer. It's a yoga practice on top of a furniture store.  And it is honoring a much-loved yoga teacher who lost her battle to uterine cancer.

I plan to hit every pose in her honor and dedicate that practice and all my practices while I am being treated to her.

Because she completed her life...I won't say that she lost her battle...she finished it...just in a way that I pray I don't finish mine.

I've been craving yoga lately...literally CRAVING it...

as much as I totally love my spin it's the YOGA that is what my body is telling me it needs...

I don't know if it is the movement...the sweat...the breath...the being one with my body...or all of it but my body needs my mat and the power each pose gives me.

Throughout my first radiation therapy treatments I tried to do yoga as much as possible.

Dr. Angel thought I was out of my mind and told me so....

But it's what my body needed...

and the fact that me, Anice, is EVER saying that yoga is what my body needed is a miracle in itself...because once upon a time I never ever thought I would LOVE yoga like I do...but that was when I mistakenly thought that yoga was about incense, Enya music, and saying "OM" (and yes we say "OM" and there are candles and sometimes incense).  I thought it was a "hippy" thing or something only people like Madonna did...

When I finished my treatments Dr. Angel apologized for ever suggesting I hold back from my yoga.  He saw what it did for me and how much it helped me through the treatments.

When everything else is falling around me my mat is there for me...

My very favorite yoga teacher took a sabbatical.  She didn't teach from the time I had my surgery until the time I finished my treatments.  I took my last yoga class before my hysterectomy with her.  She is my GODDESS.  From my very first class I connected with her on a level that transcended teacher and student.  She is my YOGA PERSON.  And I am forever grateful that she has resumed teaching so I can practice with her again.  When I found out that I still had cancer in me I was ever so grateful that she was teaching that night. I needed to just share space with her.

So while all of you are yawning away at my fawning over yoga I want you to consider something:

We all NEED to find something that brings us comfort.

For me these days it is yoga.

And sometimes it is chocolate...

and sometimes it is a dirty martini

(but yoga is healthier)

When we are faced with something that challenges us we often lose ourselves in the challenge and forget to do something that makes us feel whole and happy.

We dig into a hole of fixing the thing that is challenging us and we lose self care...we focus on the problem and not on ourselves and what else we can do to give us peace.

I do that all the time.

But with this crazy cancer I learned that I can't just focus on being a cancer patient.

I needed to find a way to be a survivor before any doctor declared me one.

Every single Saturday after I had chemo I made sure I was with my favorite beautiful human spin teacher Marvelous Mel and I rode that damn bike despite the fact that crazy chemicals were coursing through my veins.  I made sure that I was there to prove to my body that despite the fact I had endured chemicals that no human could touch (and yet were put into my veins) that I could still do a hard as hell spin class and do it like a healthy person.

It was never easy (although I was hyped up on the devil drug Dexadron) I HAD to prove to myself that cancer was not going to rob me of everything.

It did NOT rob me of my hair because I cold capped...

It did NOT rob me of my holidays because my kids worked very hard with me to celebrate as best I could after just having received my first dose of chemo...

It did NOT rob me of my joy of working with my students and costuming the musical because the doctors and I carefully planned around my show dates and my students worked extra hard doing not only their tasks but mine as well.

Cancer didn't rob me of anything but time...and feeling healthy...

We all face challenges in our lives that are things that are thrown at us that are out of our control:
a storm that destroys our property
death of a loved one
illness
accidental injury

We can't control these things (although if you are gonna do something dangerous then maybe you are at fault if you get hurt).

I have friends who's homes are destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

It was out of their control and in some cases the flooding occurred not from rain from the sky but because the flood control district released water.

They may not be facing a disease that could kill them but they have lost their home---the place where we all feel safe.

I don't know how you find a silver lining in that because no matter how pretty the new cabinets might be it doesn't take the place of a ruined baby portrait...or a lost wedding dress...

We all suffer losses and we all have things that scare the beejeezus out of us.

And we are forced to face what is wrong and handle it.

But in the handling of it we all need some self care and some self love...

and if we can find a way to let love in...to do something for ourselves that replenishes us...to make time to have a "me" moment....well then I fully believe we can handle the shit tossed our way a whole lot better than we will if we are stressed and angry.

So whatever you are facing now in your life that is a challenge for you, step back and find a way to insert some love into the trauma and drama.

For me it is my workouts---especially my yoga.

Maybe for you maybe its a mani/pedi...or a massage...or a bottle of wine you have been saving for "sometime special"...or whatever...

and don't feel guilty about it...

I make time for my workouts because that is what gets me through the day---the thought that I can let it all go on the bike and/or the mat.

Those hours I take for myself are precious to me.

They keep me from throwing scissors at the wall...from crying in my office...from laying in bed so scared I can't move...from eating a whole cake....

(ok I have never eaten a whole cake at one sitting but you never know with the right cake it could happen)

We all have our "shit" and some of it is harder to handle than others...

and for me handling cancer is something I have no choice but to do.

I don't consider myself brave or special...I'm pretty scared about it...but I have no choice but to put on my sidewalk formals and my Hannibal Lector mask and lay on the table while the magic machine does it's dance around me and the guys throw on some sort of music to distract me.

But part of how I handle it is that I KNOW my doctors are the best there is and they are doing everything they can to cure me...I KNOW that I am blessed to have insurance and that my treatments are paid for...and I KNOW that being angry isn't going to cure me (radiation will).

So I'm not mad...

oh I am not happy about it

(ok if I said I was happy about it I would hope one of you would reach out to me and check my mental health)

no I am not happy about it but I am not angry...and I don't feel like life is shitting on me...

because I have learned so much from this....and I hope you are learning from my journey...

So today take away this: anger never fixed anything but self love and self care can certainly help (I would say yoga would but then most of you would think I have inhaled too much incense or breathed in too much from the eucalyptus towels)...

Before you fuel yourself with anger for something you can't change find a light in the darkness and find a way to do something that makes you feel better so you can fuel how you handle it with love and not fire...

I'm about to embark on that second half of my cure...NOTHING is going to stop me from living each day fully...from loving as many humans as I can including myself...from reaching out to all of you to spread more love and light...from getting on the bike and mat and letting sweat pour out of me so that I can let my body release the bad stuff and heal...

Don't let anything stop you from moving forward...from loving...from making things better...

because if I can do it with cancer you can do it with a hangnail...

Inspiration Song: "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen...I loved Freddy Mercury so much and he had such a gift for lyrics to go along with that incredible voice of his...

lyrics (because they describe how I am feeling these days)

Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world it's turning inside out Yeah!
I'm floating around in ecstasy
So don't stop me now don't stop me
'Cause I'm having a good time having a good time

I'm a shooting star leaping through the skies
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I'm gonna go go go
There's no stopping me

I'm burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I'm trav'ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Don't stop me now
I'm having such a good time
I'm having a ball
Don't stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Just give me a call

Don't stop me now ('cause I'm having a good time)
Don't stop me now (yes I'm having a good time)
I don't want to stop at all... yeah!

I'm a rocket ship on my way to Mars
On a collision course
I am a satellite I'm out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload
Like an atom bomb about to
Oh oh oh oh oh explode

I'm burning through the sky Yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I'm trav'ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you

Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Hey hey hey!

Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Ooh ooh ooh (I like it)

Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Have a good time, good time

Don't stop me
Don't stop me

Ooh ooh alright

Ooh I'm burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I'm trav'ling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Don't stop me now
I'm having such a good time
I'm having a ball
Don't stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Just give me a call

Don't stop me now ('cause I'm having a good time)
Don't stop me now (yes I'm having a good time)
I don't wanna stop at all


Bye Darlings...I'm not going to let El Diablo stop me from living my life fully...it's a pivot in my journey but I will not let it define me and I am going to spend each day spreading love...and doing a whole lot of time on my mat doing my beloved yoga...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cure

Hello Darlings...

You know what happens when you are told you have cancer?

Answer: you totally and completely freak out

Do you know what happens when you are told you STILL have cancer?

Answer: you totally and completely freak out

So for 3.5 days I allowed myself to totally and completely freak out...

and then I got up Monday morning and put on my warrior gear and got ready to fight.

Actually I got up and had a giant breakfast because I had to fast for 6 hours prior to my PET scan so that meant no lunch...

and my warrior gear was actually a flowy maxi dress from Target because they told me to dress comfortably and maxi dresses are basically a way for grown women to wear a nightgown and call it a dress...

(met a fabulous gay man waiting in the waiting room at Radiation Therapy and he called it a "sidewalk formal"---I hope he is there when I go back because he is fun and better at the jigsaw puzzle in the waiting room than I am...and I am totally stealing "sidewalk formal")

So me and my sidewalk formal headed back to the Med Center (the only place I can easily get to post-Harvey) and I prepared for whatever they were going to throw at me.

I had to wait a bit on Dr. Angel because he was busy saving lives in the gamma knife surgical suite (look it up it's pretty cool) but that was ok because me and Mr. Fabulous Gay and Sweet Lady with Breast Cancer had a good time trying to work the puzzle.

The puzzle is oval.

Don't do one of those...they are invented by the devil.

When they called me down "my guys" (the radiation tech guys who are the sweetest men on earth because they put up with me and my nonsense) took me into the CT room and Eric asks me when the last time was that I had a facial...

I told him "about a year"

and he said "you get one today"...

and that's when I knew it was arts and crafts time and we were going to make a mask...

goody goody I love crafts...

except all I had to do was lay there....

So they lay me on the CT table and it takes 3 of them but they place some warm wet stuff on me (after messing up my clean pretty cutely fixed hair) and begin to mold this mesh stuff around my head, face, neck and shoulders.

Thankfully Carlos is opening part of it so that my eyes, nose, and mouth are exposed...

I'm laying there having my funky facial while they are stretching it around me and Dr. Angel appears...

I'm not allowed to talk...

I think he appreciated that moment of my being forced into complete silence and likely took a mental note to tell me things when I can't cry or scream...

But then he told me good news....

Apparently I am such a magical unicorn that he decided to spend extra time on me.  So he informs me he looked again at my CT scans over the weekend and feels that the cancer is truly limited to the two lymph glands in my neck.

We need to find something for that poor man to do to amuse himself because if looking at my scans are his weekend activity I need to force him to come to yoga with me or something...but I guess looking at grey blobs on a computer screen is what he does (thank goodness for me).

I can't respond because they are making my Hannibal Lector mask so I just smile and squeeze his hand...

He tells me the PET scan will let us know more and that once I am done with the mask I will go upstairs and get that done.

Okey Dokey....I'm getting good and familiar with the 16th floor...

Carlos tells me he will see me up there with my fabulous mask...

I tell him and Eric that once this is all done I am going to paint it rose gold and glitter it...

somehow they are not surprised...

So up I go to imaging and I get my lovely IV and shot of glucose and am told to rest...

THAT I can do...

after I bit I hear Carlos and I know it's time for the machine....

So I lay down on the table and the buckle the mask around me...

at that moment I am eternally grateful for the hole in the middle that lets me see and breathe without mesh mashing on me.

then they strap my arms to my side and voila...

I am truly Hannibal Lector in his mask....and I tell the guys that...

(I decided to refrain from a complete imitation of him as I was afraid that they would think I am crazier than I am...the joke is on them because I am crazier than they think...)

Into the machine I go...sort of a tube thing...yoga breathing helps...

I lay there and try not to move although the head rest is digging into my head and I am afraid I will be stuck in the tube forever...

once it's done I joyfully return to my car where I consume my little bag of almonds like it is the only food I have eaten since 8:45 am and it is now 5:45...

oh wait...

it was the only thing I had eaten since 8:45...

I quickly check the traffic and yoga schedules and decide my only choice is a 7:00 class and I say a prayer to the traffic gods and take off...

and then my phone rings and I see that the number is Memorial Hermann and I answer it praying that I wasn't supposed to have another test or go back...

but no...

it's Dr. Angel...

(he never calls me himself)

uh oh...

I pray for a second that he's not calling to tell me to come back to his office (that would mean bad news) and I wait to see what he has to say...

well my friends that man is wonderful----because he was calling to put my mind at ease and let me know he had already looked at the PET scans and that he fully believes now more than ever the cancer is indeed in just those lymph glands.

it has not spread...

and he wanted me to be able to sleep better...

because frankly it's hard to sleep when you are afraid that cancer is eating away at you...

we discuss my treatment some more and he laughs that yes I am going to yoga and tells me he will see me next week to start phase 2 of getting El Diablo out of my body.  Oh and he tells me that my pelvic area is completely free of cancer and all my organs look good and healthy...

And then I told him that Dr. Rockstar and I decided he's the boss of me on this and we do what he says to do...and that I will be compliant with him even though I haven't ever given a man that much dominion over me (oh he loved that)...and he reassured me that we are going to get through this and I will be ok and to sleep better because we know just what we are dealing with...

And yes I cried when we hung up...

because at this point it's not so much that I still have cancer but rather it's that it is contained...

perspective people that's what we have....perspective....

I don't love that I still have cancer but at least it is where we expected it and he can "nip it in the bud" as he says and get me done with this.

I still find it rather a miracle he found it at all...

I had been wondering why I hadn't heard anything about cancer in my neck before I saw him but after talking to him the other day when he showed me the scans it is just luck that the scan managed to be high enough to see those glands...and I am lucky enough he noticed it...

otherwise El Diablo could still be sitting there in those glands and we might not know it...

So the plan of action is to nuke the glands and have a little chemo to help it along and in about 6 weeks I will be done with round 2

That's how we cure me...one step and day at a time and with a Hannibal Lector mask to keep me from moving about while the beam hits me.

So all of this got me thinking about how to handle these things that come up in our life that are expected and yet unexpected.

I totally feel so great I thought I was cured and done with all of this but in the back of my mind I knew that those lymph nodes in my neck could be trouble and they are...but I tend to go into things looking for the best so I didn't really consider that he could tell me that I wasn't in remission.

I am a big fan of Maya Angelou...I think she was an incredibly wise woman and she is one person I dearly wish I could have met and spent time with.

A quote attributed to her is: "I've learned you can tell a lot about a person by how they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights..."

I'd like to add: "and being told they still have cancer" to that list...

because after battling cancer for almost a year the last thing you want to hear is that it is still there...

and I have decided that I need to handle it better than I thought I could...because I can't give in or give up...

Another Maya quote that inspires me and is giving me direction is this:

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them"

And that is what I will do...I will not be reduced by this pivot in my life...

Because life is always going to have rainy days (and we will be caught without umbrellas or it will ruin our plans) and life will hand you lost luggage (especially if you travel via United) and we always always have tangled Christmas tree lights (even if we are careful storing them).

It's just how life is...and how we handle those setbacks determines how successful we are at overcoming them.

I have two of the best doctors in Houston and most likely in this state taking care of me.

I am with a great hospital system where my insurance is welcome and where all the humans I come into contact with are great people.

I have been blessed to have had every single human who has helped me with my cancer be a truly caring and nice person.  Not once have I encountered a grouchy, irritated, unkind person.

I love my doctors and I believe in them and I believe they are doing everything they can to help me (even reading my scans on the weekend and staying late to read PET scans). 

I believe my Hannibal Lector mask will protect me and keep me just where I need to be receive my treatment.

I believe my spin and yoga classes will keep me strong....and that work will distract me enough to not sit around and feel sorry for myself.

I have everything I need in my corner: doctors, good medicine, health, and lots of love and prayers from all of you.

So I look at this as just a rainy day...and I have to handle this rainy day as best I can...

I can't get mad...and I can't blame anyone (there is truly no one to blame including myself) and I can't feel sorry for myself.

It is what it is...

and so I will battle on...

in a Hannibal Lector mask...while wearing sidewalk formals...

and about 6-7 weeks from now that little war will be over and I can focus on getting rid of Gertie the hernia and El Diablo will have been vanquished by an Angel.

I'm ready...and I know I can do this...

and I thank you all for being part of my journey and praying for me and my doctors and my kids...

Inspiration Song: "The Cure" by Lady Gaga...because Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar are going to cure me...


Bye Darlings: life has handed me a pivot and not a setback...and when life hands you a pivot put on your sidewalk formal and fix it while looking fabulous...that's what I am gonna do even if it means I have to wear a Hannibal Lector mask every day...damn thing better not mess up my hair and makeup...


Sunday, September 10, 2017

I'm Alive

Hello Darlings...

well it's been a few days since I got the bad news that I still have active cancer in my body...

I told myself I was allowed to cry, make strong dirty martinis, throw things, cry, yell, scream, pout, stomp my feet, cry, complain, fuss, wallow in bed, cry and cry about it for the weekend and then it was time to get back into warrior mode and go get this shit gone from my body.

I have cried a bit...ok maybe a lot...but then I am a crier so there's that...

I have allowed myself to go off my diet as far as the drinking goes and had a dirty martini every night...

I have pouted...

I may or may not have stomped my feet a few times...

I wallowed in bed until I realized I had to get my ass up and on a bike so I would feel better...

I did not throw anything although I did toss Zulu off the bed because he wasn't allowing me to properly wallow...

Screaming did not happen but I may or may not have sung every word to the songs from Xanadu quite loudly in my car (yes I love Xanadu and I am #sorrynotsorry about it)

I did my spin and practiced some yoga...

And now it's time to be Wonder Woman again and gear up...because wallowing in bed never cured cancer and tears won't either...

I did some positive things:

I made some soup to freeze for when I don't feel well from chemo

I had lunch with my friend SweetSandra and that made my heart happy

I washed my car (ok that was after an entire 12 pack of Diet Dr Pepper fell out of the back of my car and busted all over my garage floor so in the process the car got a bath...and so did I)

and I did something I rarely do: I got out by myself and went to meet some friends to watch a musical at Miller Outdoor Theater.  Since I have gotten sick I rarely go anywhere at night but to workout.  I occasionally will have dinner with a friend but that's rare.  I've almost become anti-social at night because I hate heading out to do things by myself.  But my sweet friends KrazyKelly and AngelicAngela had tickets to "Xanadu" and as that is my favorite guilty pleasure musical and my friend The Lady Tam was one of the stars I could not miss it.  (and that is why I was singing the soundtrack in my car).  I love Xanadu.  I love the movie and I especially love the musical.  And I loved every second of last night's performance. 

Hi my name is Anice and I love Xanadu and I am not ashamed of it...

If pure joy could kill cancer then I would be cancer free after that show because I was so incredibly happy and full of joy...

As I drove home I made a promise to myself to quit hiding at home and to go out and do more things I enjoy even if it means I go alone to meet others or maybe I just do it all by myself.

I loved last night...I got to see and be with people I love (including KuteKatie and SuperStephanie) and I watched a show I love and the weather was perfect. 

I need to say "yes" to life and not wait to do things...

because tomorrow is not promised to me---or any of us...

but when you are fighting cancer you know you have some crazy shit in your body that is basically trying to kill you...and you have to do some crazy shit to make it go away...

As much as I like to pretend I don't have cancer sometimes it catches up with me and I get tired...but other times I push myself too much because I am bound and determined to live as I want and not as a slave to cancer.

NO ONE ever expects or wants to hear the words "you have cancer".

Sadly many of us will.

When I heard the confirming words "you have uterine cancer" I had had a bit of time to process it and knew it was a strong possibility.  I had a lot of bleeding, I felt crappy, I had some really bad pain and most of all I had 2 CA125 blood tests run with very high levels.

I knew for almost 3 weeks that there was an excellent chance that what was wrong with me was cancer.

It lurked around and danced in the back of my mind for quite some time sort of like that awkward boy who had a crush on you in 6th grade but he can never quite commit to saying "hey! will you go with me?" (and why oh why did we say we were "going with" someone?  Where were we going?  We were too young to go anywhere...but yeah we were "going with" someone...)

Cancer was in me but it took some time for the pathology to catch up with it and reveal itself.

And when it did finally show itself it decided to be an ass about it.

I hate my cancer...

So I have decided to name it...because saying "uterine pappilary serous carcinoma" is a damn mouthful. 

I've decided to give it a man's name because it invited itself in and won't leave and has gotten lost on the way and won't ask for directions (because it is UTERINE cancer and although I have no uterus it is now in my damn neck...not in the area where my uterus once was...so I consider it "lost").

I've had many names suggested including Harvey (because we hate Harvey) and Dick (because it is acting like one).  I won't do Dick because I have a some uncles named Dick and I love them. 

I thought about naming it after my ex because I did successfully get rid of him but my son has the same name and I just can't do that.

So I have settled on El Diablo.

The Devil.

Because it is acting like the damn devil.  I considered Mephistopheles and Beelzebub and Satan but I think El Diablo is just right. 

Besides the doctor who is going to kill El Diablo is named "Angel" so I think it works perfectly...my Angel will kill El Diablo...

So we shall vanquish El Diablo and it's gonna go to hell...

Tomorrow I am going to have yet another scan...this time it is a PET scan.  I've never had one before but I will be sure to share all the fun details of it after.

After that my Dr. Angel is gonna make a plan of attack, I get to have some arts and crafts time with getting the mask made (when it is all over I am gilding and glittering it) and they have to figure out what time is available to be my regular "let's jump on the table and be still and talk to God" time.

and then there is the chemo bit...

I think Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar have this under control and I am going to keep eating right, doing my spin and yoga and staying away from sick people.

I'm ready for round 2.

I had a 6 week breather and now it's time to fight again.

Wonder Woman never gives up...she just keeps fighting that bad guys and so I am going to be like Wonder Woman and keep fighting this damn El Diablo until he has gone to hell and is out of me.

When you are told you have cancer it knocks you on your ass.

You sit and question everything about yourself and your life...

did you do something to bring it on? (sometimes)

did your lifestyle make it happen? (sometimes)

is God mad at you? (nope)

You wonder why and what you did that made it happen.  And how did it get in you.  And how did you not know it was happening.

Then you start bargaining.

You bargain with yourself.

You bargain with God.

And then you start praying.

Because all the medicine in the world isn't going to work if you don't humble yourself before God and ask Him to help you (if you are a Christian).

I've asked God for a lot...

I've asked Him to help my doctors.
I've asked Him to give me strength to keep fighting.
I've asked Him to take away pain.
I've asked Him to keep my insurance going.
I've asked Him to calm my loved ones and give them peace.
I've asked Him to help me stay at peace about this.
I've asked Him to take away nausea
I've asked Him to help me finish spin class (I do that a lot...Jesus and I are tight on that)

I have NOT asked Him to cure me.

Because I believe if it is His will I will be cured.  And if it isn't I won't be.

I've struggled with asking Him to cure me...but I think he is using my doctors to do that.  And I am pretty sure I am going to be cured.

I've got a life to live ahead of me.

52 is not old.

I have years ahead to live and love.

I believe I will find love when this is all over...when I am done with this fight there will be someone who becomes a part of my life to love me.

And I am going to watch my children grow...and my grandchildren grow...

And I'm going to be a very annoying old lady who does spin and yoga.

I have no choice but to fight because I have plans...

I'm going to see Hawaii and Paris again. 
I'm going to zipline in Costa Rica. 
I'm going to go to Australia. 
I'm going to eat TexMex at my cousin MarvelousMike's restaurant.
I'm going to win at blackjack in Vegas.
I'm going to see a Geisha in Japan.
I'm going to eat at Kings Inn many more times.
I'm going to wear a Vera Wang dress.
I'm going to get nominated for more Tommy Tune awards.
I'm going to work with my students.
I'm going to drink a lot of dirty martinis at fun places.
I'm going to eat at awesome restaurants in NYC.
I'm going to meet Todrick Hall and hug him (yes that is on my bucket list)
I'm going to go to LA and see people I love there
I'm going to Washington DC to see people I love there
I'm going to spend many afternoons with my aunts floating in the pool
I'm going to watch the last season of Game of Thrones
I'm going to kiss a man I love
I'm going to cook a lot of steaks
I'm going to see the Dixie Chicks in concert (yes, they need to tour for me)
I'm going to spend a Sunday in bed watching Netflix with someone I love
I'm going to kiss my children so many many many times
I'm going to laugh with friends
I'm going to do a lot of spin and yoga

I have a lot of things I plan to do and cancer is not going to stop me.

So let's all warrior up for round 2.

I have so much to live for and I'll be damned if El Diablo is going to beat my Dr. Angel...

When we are facing the toughest times in our lives we can either rise or fall.

I chose to rise.

I chose to rise and stand tall.

I feel like I am in yoga...and I am in a forward fold...and I halfway lift to take in air...and then I place my hands on the mat and exhale and then I rise with my breath...and I stretch my hands up over my head to release it all...and then I bring them down in prayer as I go once more to my mat...

I rise and stretch and release...

I will not fall or fail...

I will rise...

because I am alive and I will live...

Inspiration Song: "I'm Alive" by Electric Light Orchestra from the Xanadu soundtrack...because I love ELO and I love Xanadu (yeah I think you get that now)...and like the muses who come to life from the chalk drawing on the wall I am going to come to life once my doctors breathe life and medicine in me again...

Lyrics:

I'm alive - and the world shines for me today
I'm alive - suddenly I am here today
Seems like forever (and a day), thought I could never (feel this way)
Is this really me? I'm alive, I'm alive
I'm alive - and the dawn breaks across the sky
I'm alive - and the sun rises up so high
Lost in another world (far away), never another word (till today)
But what can I say? I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
(Instrumental break)
Suddenly came the dawn (from the night), suddenly I was born (into light)
How can it be real? I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
I'm alive - and the world shines for me today
I'm alive - suddenly I am here today
Seems like forever (and a day), thought I could never (feel this way)
Is this really me? I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
(Instrumental break)
I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive


Bye darlings---I'm alive and the world shines for me today...and I am going to rise above this and Dr. Angel is going to kill El Diablo and give me my life back...thank you all for being on this journey with me...















Friday, September 8, 2017

Survivor

Hello Darlings...

Well...damn...hell...all the bad words...

pull up a chair, grab a drink and I will tell you what is going on. 

Wish I had good fun news to tell you but that is not how this is gonna go.  So right now if you are suffering with your own troubles you might want to just avoid mine...

So yesterday I had a very important doctor's appointment...

It was my 6 week follow up with my radiology oncologist.

I just KNEW he was gonna give me good news.

I was so positive I was gonna get good news that I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot in the fridge, I put on a pretty dress and fixed my hair...

hell---I put on HEELS

I went DANCING into that office...

I was in the best mood.

The.Best.Mood.

I hugged all my people and twirled around in my cute dress.

And then I waited...and I never wait there...

but time was passing and I knew they were very backed up from the storm.

No biggie...

I had all the time in the world to wait and see my Dr. Angel and hear him say the magic words!

What are the "magic words" you ask?

"Cured"
"Remission"
"No Sign of Disease"
"No more cancer"
"The cancer is gone"

Those are magic words...better than abracadabra or any Harry Potter "expeliamus"

I finally go downstairs, get my designer hospital gown on and spy my precious Dr. in the hallway...he always greets me with big hugs but this time I got a bit of a distracted hug and not my usual smile...

I chalked it up to a very long day...

I go into the exam room and wait...

a few minutes later he walks into the room and hugs me again---this time with more of the usual love I feel from him.

I look him in the eye, smile and say:

"tell me the good news!"

and what I see in his face said it all...

the news...

not
good
at
all

When you doctor holds you and says "well..."

well---damn...shit...hell...all the bad words...

he looks at me with a sad smile and says "you know those lymph glands in your neck?  They are growing again.  I believe the tumor is active in those lymph glands."

I cry

he and the nurse hold me

I get my act together so he can examine me and he acknowledges that I look really good and that I am healing great from the radiation and that yes indeed I have a very large abdominal hernia...

but then there is the stupid lymph glands...

so he tells me to get dressed and meet him in his office...

that's never a good sign is it?  meet your doc in his office?

I've been in his office before but it was for the happy day that I had finished my radiation treatments and gave him his gift of a crystal angel.

He unwrapped the gift and said "this angel will stay on my desk"

I was happy to see that she was still there when I walked into his office...

he has 3 very large computer screens in there and he starts pushing buttons and my scans appear...

all I see is a lot of grey and black and white blobs...I have no clue what I am looking at...

I did notice on one scan that I look fat so that image is now burned in my brain and is my motivation to continue to lose weight...

Without going into all the details you don't need to know here are the facts:

Back in late April Dr. Angel told me that he felt strongly that I had cancer in two of the lymph glands in my neck area.  He said the images weren't great of that area but he was pretty convinced there was cancer there.  He felt at that time that the chemo had shrunk the tumors in the lymph gland and that we would watch the area carefully but he would not radiate them at that time because: 1) I was already going to have a lot of radiation and 2) why radiate there when they had shrunk.

So back then he told me we would treat my pelvic area and hope that the lymph glands in my neck stayed small.

They didn't...

so now they are growing again and he has good images that show it and so it's time to treat those lymph glands.

Basically I get to do radiation again but instead of laying on the table with my naked booty exposed and having a full bladder I get to wear a beautiful Hannibal Lector mask and be very very still so that the beam doesn't hit my carotid aretery.  Because sadly one of the glands is so close to that artery that it's dangerous and might be dangerous to try to remove surgically...

I got lots of hugs from him and his staff and please know I am in the best hands possible.  The man is as good as it gets with radiation and if anyone can cure me it is my Dr. Angel....

I saw my regular oncologist today and she told me that this is more of a progression of my disease than a recurrence.

Not sure how to take that but I take it as a lateral move instead of a step forward or back.

She explained that they will give me chemo while I do the radiation.

Thankfully this chemo will not make me lose my hair but it will make me nauseous and a bit tired.

I also have to take the stupid steroid with it but she understands my reluctance to take it because of all the weight I gained.

So we compromised and I will take the minimum of the steroid...

So basically I will go get nuked Monday-Friday and then every Monday or Tuesday I will go upstairs and get my infusion. 

I can still work and workout. 

I don't have to cold cap because this drug will not make me lose my hair...might make me lose my hearing but not my hair.

I'll be having infusions of cisplatin and it will help the radiation.  I love that there is platinum going into me...now how about some diamonds to go with it?

So hopefully this will cure me and get rid of it once and for all...

and if it doesn't then we try regular chemo again...

and if that doesn't work we try surgically removing the lymph glands...

you might wonder why they don't just yank those things out but apart from being dangerously close to a major artery losing those lymph glands could also cause lymphedema, swelling, and possibly nerve damage and not much use of my left arm.

So we are going to try the nuking it route first...

And mind you Dr Rockstar is aptly named because she is a rock star of a doctor and a total badass...she's the mom to 5 year old twins so her badass-ness is even more so...she is totally the person God put me with because he made her to cure me along with Dr. Angel...

So in a nutshell: more radiation and more chemo...

Basically I well get this fabulous mask that will keep me in place and the machine will do it's little dance around me like it did before. I am claustrophobic so they have promised me they will cut out a hole for my face so I won't feel like I am being smothered by an octopus while laying on the table.

I teased the guys at radiation that I missed them so much I decided to have my cancer come roaring back so I could hang out with them again...they are the sweetest and I got lots of hugs in response...

So now you are probably wondering how I am handling all of this?

Well---damn...shit....hell...

not very well...

I'm giving myself exactly 48 hours to have a pity party.  I've used up 27 hours of it so far.

I'm allowed to cry...drink...throw things...eat chocolate...and be as pissed off as I want.

And then on Sunday it ends...

and I put on my warrior gear and I get ready to battle again.

Because you see there is NO OTHER OPTION OTHER THAN TO WIN

I do not have the option to give up and give in...

I will not f'ing let cancer get me.

Last year at this time I thought my second chance at life was just ahead of me...The Cutest Boy in the World was in college and I was finally free to find romance and lose some weight and have some fun...

but I felt crappy...

and then...

cancer...

it was just almost exactly a year ago that my symptoms started and I knew something was wrong.  The bleeding was happening and I was feeling tired and not able to lose weight.

And so here I am a year later and I feel great and I have lost weight and I am more than ready to reclaim all the time I lost to cancer...

but it's going to have to wait...

because this warrior isn't done with her fight and until I am totally victorious I need to stay in the battle and wage on...

So let's call this an unplanned lateral move and a little setback to my getting my life back and moving forward.

I know God has this all in His plan for me and that I have the best team of doctors and prayer warriors any one could ever have.

I'm going to go through this treatment AND then I am going to get rid of Gertie the Hernia (KuteKaren named the hernia that) and then maybe by Christmas I can move forward with my future...as for Gertie she is the size of a baby head so I pretty much look like John Hurt did in "Alien" right before the alien burst through his belly...yes, it is that big...and yes it looks weird...

I'm sure there is a very sweet man out there that won't mind loving a woman who has a roadmap of scars on her body...who's neck is scarred from radiation...who's spent over a year battling something that tried to kill her...

I'll find a man who drives whatever the hell he wants (I don't care if it is a big ass truck anymore) and he will bring me lilies and will know that the woman he is with has been to hell and back to live.

I'll find a man who will know why I might wake up each morning scared that it's the day the cancer comes back and he will also know why I might cry at night or have nightmares...

I'll find a man who will understand why some days I might not want to wait until tomorrow to do something...because for me tomorrow has not been promised...

I will never call myself a cancer victim.

I am a cancer survivor.

This shit isn't going to kill me...I can't let it...

I know that my "second life" is just before me...it's just a little further out of reach than I had planned and it's taking longer to get there but I will get there.

I didn't go through all of this to not come out stronger and better for it.

So Monday I will put on another pretty dress and I will take myself down to 6400 Fannin and I will let Dr. Angel start the next step of my journey for me.  I'm gonna make fighting cancer look GOOD so I will dress up like it's a party because it is a party---a cancer killing party and he's going to figure out how to have the party end with me dancing in glitter...

I'm ok...

I'll get through this...

it's just another step in the path of my journey...

the journey is not the one I thought I was on but it's the one I have been given...

so I will walk, crawl, slither, roll, ride, drive, run, or WHATEVER to get down this path and on to the next part of my life...

And to quote my Queen Bey:

I'm a survivor
I'm not gon' give up
I'm not gon' stop
I'm gon' work harder
I'm a survivor
I'm gonna make it
I will survive
Keep on survivin'


I will win...it make take a little longer but I will win...

Inspiration Song; "Survivor" by Destiny's Child...because Beyoncé...and because I am a survivor and I'm gonna make it...

Bye darlings---pray for me, for my doctor's, for my kids, for my team, and for everyone fighting this terrible disease.  I might need some help in the next few weeks but for now I ask for some peace (not a lot of questions please) and prayers...