Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paging Jennifer Garner.

Last night the Mexican asked me to describe how I see my life.

Do you remember those hand held toys with pegs and hoops submersed in water? You would push a little red button on the bottom of the toy, air would shoot up into the water and the bubbles would send the hoops into disarray. The purpose of the game was to get all of the hoops onto the pegs.

My life feels like that little game. A month ago, all of my hoops were on pegs. Maybe not the right pegs, but on pegs nonetheless. Now it feel like all of those hoops have been blown off and each time a hoop might settle on a peg, a big blast of air blasts everything into chaos again.

I can see why people turn to religion in a time of crisis. It means being able to plead with an invisible hand with the power to push, or not push, that air-blasting button.


My left breast is officially waving the white flag. Wednesday's second attempt to get clear margins will be the last attempt. If the news is not good this week, it will mean removing the breast. Most of which doesn't much resemble a breast right now. More like the under-inflated half of a yellowish-green dodgeball. With some stitches and a delta of broken blood vessels thrown in for good measure. I try not to look at it in the mirror when I undress.

My arm is rapidly improving. The nerve pain is no longer a debilitating ninja, but simply an indicator of the limits of my limited (but improving) flexibility. I still cannot raise my the arm high enough to shave the world's stinkiest armpit or wear items that require raising my elbow above shoulder level. But I was able to sleep last  night with my arm around Ricardo and to pick up and hug my cats when I got home. (If you are wondering why this latter task would take two arms, you obviously haven't met my cats.)

But I am still very unsettled. Tuesday will be spent at St. Vincent's undergoing a bone scan and a full-body CT scan. The concern being that the cancer, having invaded my lymph nodes, has also invaded other parts of my body. I am also undergoing genetic testing to determine if I carry a genetic mutation that would indicate that I would probably see a recurrence of the breast cancer and that it is more likely that I would get ovarian cancer at some point later in life.

Although I am trying to be positive, it's hard to do after repeatedly getting my ass kicked with bad news.


Finally, on the topic of hair. I have a crazy head of hair. Thick to the point of notoriety. I used to bitch about it constantly, how it took three elastics to hold a ponytail in high school or how I can't cut it too short without risking looking a hedgehog. My mom used to tell me to quit complaining, because I would never have to worry about going bald.

Oh, the irony.

On the current treatment time line, I'll probably lose my hair in about four weeks. Not one to be caught unprepared, I spent part of Thursday morning investigating my options in socially appropriate head coverings. (In a perfect world, I would just wear an afro wig or hijab everywhere for a few months. But either would be too hot in the summer and would do nothing to help my quest to keep my diagnosis from becoming a distraction once I an able to return to work.)

I know that the current selection of head coverings reflect the female demographic most likely to be undergoing chemotherapy, but YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. On the mainstream websites I found nothing that would work for me on a day-to-day basis, but plenty that would work if I wanted to travel Sante Fe and blend in with the 60-year-old retirees while I shop for crystals and Native American handicrafts. For fuck sake. I did find it interesting while there were options with sequins or crushed velvet, there was not an option that offered both on the same head piece. Because that is something I might have been down with.

In the end, I went to and bought a selection of homemade summer-colored scarves and hat-like objects. While they will be unable to fool anyone into thinking that I am anything other than a cancer patient, at least I won't be mistaken for someone on her way to pottery class with the Countess.

I am also going to get a wig. OK, maybe two wigs. One for work, weddings, those few and far between occasions where I don't want to purposely make people uncomfortable. Then I want one for everyday occasions, like messing with the Conveyor at Fifth Quadrant. (The Conveyor is the world's worst pub waitress. They had a contest once and when the other contestants realized she was coming, they didn't even bother to show up. Ask around, she really is THAT BAD.)

I will be watching Alias this week for inspiration. And the request line is now open.....

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