Just a bunch of musings

What happens when a cancer blog doesn’t have new posts? Do people assume you died? Not me, I’m alive!! And I’m currently at my 7th chemo infusion.

My sister flew in for the 4th one and made me a bunch of dinners to freeze. My bff Anna came to my 5th and brought me a bunch of freezer meals. And my mom flew in for the 6th and you guessed it, filled my freezer. The way to my heart is meals I don’t have to think about.

Let’s see, what was I not prepared for the last few weeks. My hair to keep falling out. I thought we were done and only the strong hairs had survived but it never really stopped so I cut it off. The thought is that as soon as I’m done with chemo it will start growing back, so fingers crossed the gypsy curse is done.

I wasn’t prepared for the amount of snot I would constantly make or the pain in my esophagus or the vomiting. When I thought of chemo, my first impression was the movie “Dying Young” where Campbell Scott hired Julia Roberts to be his nurse and he threw up all the time. I was assured with my three variations of anti-emetics that not only would I never have the hair of Julia Roberts, but that I wouldn’t be throwing up like Campbell Scott.

Let’s just say I’ll never be able to have Italian seasoned chicken or a grilled cheese again without thinking of it coming back up. And really, when’s the last time you’ve vomited? Not told your boss you couldn’t stop throwing up so you couldn’t come to work, but were actually throwing up. And listen, I don’t want to talk about poop let alone vomit but here we are. I couldn’t remember the last time I actually threw up but now I won’t forget it.

When my kids were little I think they didn’t think they could throw up without me. They felt like they had to come to my room first to tell me and then I’d go with them to the bathroom. Sometimes it was pretty close. And listen, feel free to go without me and I’ll meet you there. Do you need an audience? I’d personally like to throw up in peace or not at all if it was actually up to me.

I wasn’t prepared for all the outside stress. Life doesn’t stop when you have cancer. Your bills don’t stop coming, other people’s lives don’t stop, your landlord can still sell your house, my cancer doesn’t stop anyone else’s life from going on. And there’s very little concession from other people’s high sense of urgency. I’m scared all the time. Of everything. I’m stressed about everything except medical bills thanks to my go fund me.

And now some musings from the waiting room. It snowed last night and an old man just walked in wearing shorts and Birkenstocks. How did he even walk from his car? My boots were covered in snow, how are your feet not freezing? Also, you have to give your birthdate for everything and a man walked in with a 1989 birthday, which is the year I graduated from high school. The next guy was 1986. So young.

There was a woman last time and she was on her 8th treatment of the chemo I get and she looked haggard. Just like tired and sick. You know I have a fear of looking sick. And my mom said she was much older than me but she wasn’t. She was only five years older. Am I going to look haggard after two more of these? I feel like I already look haggard.

And now Fox News is on in this waiting room. What is happening? I’d almost rather die than listen to it, but I shouldn’t say that too loud.

This man is in the waiting room with his maybe 30 year old son, and the dad says, “My lady friend is here so I’m going to go get her. Text me what room you’re in.” He went down, got his lady friend, his son went back, and the dad is here in the waiting room chatting up his lady friend while his son is in the back getting chemo. What is wrong with people?

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My life is a comedy of errors

Last week I had to go to the emergency room. Now, if you know me, you know it takes a lot to get me to an emergency room. It took me seven years just to get to a doctor, and a knee that wouldn’t extend for three days to get me to an urgent care. I do not go to the emergency room. Ever. In fact, this was my first time in my adult years to go to the emergency room for myself.

So it was bad. I thought I was dying. And actually what I thought was that I was having a fake heart attack like they had warned me about in my first chemo. Then I called the cancer clinic and they started throwing around words like “pulmonary embolism”, and you have to know besides my appendix bursting, an embolism is quite possibly the scariest thing I can think of.

And now that I’ve said that, it’s an aneurism that’s the scariest thing because there’s no warning. I would never go to the emergency room for a headache, I’d probably just die of an aneurism.

So I was having chest pain. Like right in the middle of my chest. And severe pain like I was doubled over and having trouble breathing. And it came on fast. I had just had lunch with Heather holla! She brought me a calzone and we chatted for a couple hours. Then as I was signing in to work, the pain started. I thought I could breathe through it because I didn’t want to waste a sick day or anyone’s time but it got so bad, I had to call.

The cancer center told me to call 911 or go straight to the emergency room and I was like, “Nah, it’ll pass.” And then they said heart attack or embolism and it didn’t get better in 10 minutes so I called Heather holla! to see if she’d drop me at the emergency room.

Here’s the deal. I don’t want anything to be wrong with me, but I also don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own. So if I’m going to the emergency room, I want it to be for something they can fix and tell me, “You were smart to come in.” I don’t want them to tell me it’s heartburn and go home, or worse yet, tell me it’s nothing.

And let’s not even get into how expensive the emergency room is. There’s a reason people don’t go unless they think they’re dying.

So I get dropped off and go in and have to wait in a security line to be checked in. I don’t know why there’s such security at an emergency room, but there’s obviously a reason. I wish they could just read my scan from the X-ray machine and save me the copay. I get checked in and they put me in a room and do an EKG, which took about 10 seconds.

At this point I call Sunshine to tell her where I am and to pick me up after work. I don’t want her missing work, but she yells at me to find out where I am and says she’s on her way. “Yells” is a strong word but she had a high sense of urgency to find out where exactly I was. I was fine. I was having severe chest pain but I was in a hospital, what could go wrong? Whelp, I have neutropenia so I’m more susceptible to germs, so that could go wrong. Mask securely on.

My EKG was fine but they admitted me anyway because they have to find a way to bill me. I walk back through two more security doors to a hive of rooms that you could easily get lost in. They make me put a gown on and a resident comes in to find out what’s going on.

Because my life is a comedy of errors, one of my curtains is gone and the glass wall where everyone walks by is just open to watching me change. They come in to try and fix it while five doctors are standing over me doing an ultrasound on my heart and throwing around words like “effusion”. Someone from housekeeping definitely saw underboob, but this is what I saw:

Turns out my heart was fine but because it’s a teaching hospital, I had to get a couple more doctors in to tell me there’s no effusion, whatever that is.

Then they do an X-ray of my lungs to make sure they’re clear, but they can’t tell if they’re actually clear unless they do a CT scan with contrast. I’m not sure why we didn’t just start there, but they saved the best for last.

They came in to do an IV and I said I have a port. Then they left because they didn’t know how to do a port. Listen, the only good thing about having a port is it’s convenient and my little wrist vein doesn’t have to do any work. It’s been through enough. The problem is they can’t get my port to work correctly (Sunshine said, “User error”) so they had to call my little wrist vein up from the minors and take blood from there.

However, because it’s a comedy of errors, they can’t do the CT contrast in my wrist vein so it has to be from my elbow or my port, which they can’t figure out. I wish I would have known that before they put the thing in my freaking wrist! After a lot of uncomfortable manipulating, they finally get my port to work and I get the CT scan with contrast and I’d only been there 5 hours at that point. Listen, they are not in any hurry to get you out of there, nor do they offer dinner in the emergency room.

The CT scan comes back clear except a little node on my lung that they’ll send my oncologist. That doesn’t sound terrifying at all, but it also doesn’t explain the pain, which I actually figured out on my own. More on that in a second. The main doctor comes in and tells me I can go as soon as they unplug everything and tells me to come back if it happens again. No, thank you.

7 hours in the ER and no one knows what the pain was but I’m leaving. I’m starving and exhausted. They don’t let you leave until you pay that ridiculous copay, so I do that and we’re on our way. But as I get to the car, my lips start feeling funny, like numb.

They had made me drink this drink with lidocaine and mylanta or something as disgusting earlier in the night that made my throat numb but that had worn off and this was just my lips. Then the right side of my lips started swelling. Well, there was no way I was going back into that ER but when I got home, I looked like this.

Okay, I’m a white woman and maybe it wasn’t that bad but there was definite swelling. I called the hospital and said I was having an allergic reaction to something and asked if I could take Benadryl. They said sometimes the contrast has side effects that don’t show up on the first one, but do show up on the second one. Great. I had had a CT scan with contrast in October and didn’t have any trouble. I took the one Benadryl I had in the house and the swelling went down a little.

The next day I woke up and my lips were swollen and my legs were covered with hives. The hits just keep on coming. Like, come on. I already have cancer, it’s enough.

Long story long, I had to go get a stronger hydrocortisone cream than the one I had and more Benadryl. And on the way to the pharmacy I slipped in my garage and wrenched my knee, however, I’ll probably die before going back to the emergency room. I’ll live with the limp.

Oh, and the pain, it was my esophagus. It’s a side effect of my chemo. But at least now I know my heart is good, my lung has a node, and I’m allergic to contrast. And the ER housekeeping crew knows I have very little underboob.

A Simpler Time

I got a postcard from Sunshine today. Where’s Sunshine been, you ask? Europe…over three months ago.

Aww, October 2018. It was a different time. I didn’t know I had cancer. My goal for the month was to get a doctor and get through the series “The Vampire Diaries”. Not a season, mind you, the whole series. And Sunshine was in Europe for three weeks of the month.

I was also dreaming about the lottery. Remember when it was really high around that time? Instead of looking up shady doctors, I was on Zillow planning which side of the park I was going to live in a four bedroom in Manhattan for two years. Picture of the floor plan? Yes, please.

It was a simpler time. And I don’t want to be all cancer, cancer, cancer but it has consumed my life…and my colon. And I’m off schedule by a week. Remember my tight timeline to get this wrapped up before Moonshine’s graduation? Cancer doesn’t care.

Picture this, Tenderheart and I go to Joann’s to get yarn because we’re going to my chemo and are going to knit/crochet. She knits, I crochet. We’re ready. We have my chemo bag, my new “Knit Happens” reusable bag, and a bunch of yarn. I go to get my blood taken and then wait. “Hurry up and wait” should be the slogan of any hospital.

We finally see the PA, which was okay because the appointment two weeks before, the oncologist made me wait 45 minutes after my appointment time. I hate it. All of it. She quickly tells me my neutrophils are too low to get chemo that day.

I don’t understand, we have yarn. And I feel good. Is there really such a thing as “neutrophils”? Sounds made up.

Apparently it needs to be at 1,000 and it’s at 800, which doesn’t sound terrible but she is unmoved. “But I feel really good,” I tell her. And then I burst into tears. “I’m on a tight timeline.” “Moonshine’s graduation.” “We brought yarn.” “I have people flying in to come to chemo appointments with me.” Un. Moved.

Tenderheart had a look of panic and tells me it’s okay about 100 times. I think if she tried to say anything else she was going to burst into tears too. I tried to be strong. I tried not to cry but the truth is, chemo sucks. And I hate it and I have to psych myself up to go every single time. I can taste the saline flush they do and have to have mints, my mouth tastes metallic, I’m nauseous, it’s awful, so the fact that I show up should be enough of a requirement for me to get it. And the fact that I couldn’t get it was just too much to bear at that moment.

I pulled myself together and Tenderheart and I walked back to the valet to get our car. We felt like we got a half day. And if it hadn’t thrown me completely off with my work schedule and people flying in, it would have been a really nice time. Tenderheart said she felt like I got her out of school early to hang out.

And I know in the whole scheme of things, it is what it is. It’s completely out of my control, which is the problem. I’m not that great of a “go with the flow” gal. I like a plan. Unless, of course, I win the lottery and live in a little flat overlooking Central Park for two years. East or west, doesn’t really matter to me. Then I’ll be as go with the flow as you like. But until then, I’m at the mercy of my “neutrophils” and my white blood cells and my oncologist.

And if you’re wondering, I sure did make it through the entire series of “The Vampire Diaries” in October. It was a simpler time.

Speaking of dying of embarrassment…

I have a horrible colonoscopy story…besides the cancer thing. This is gross and maybe where I lose some people. You’ve been warned.

My colonoscopy was on a Thursday and my prep was on Wednesday. It’s winter so on Sunday, I put on a crockpot of pinto beans to eat for the week. We eat them with cornbread or on tortillas with cheese. It’s a cheap, hearty meal but also one you might not want to eat before a colonoscopy. Unbeknownst to me at the time, beans don’t digest that well, and I had them Sunday and Monday for dinner and Tuesday for lunch. That’s a lot of beans.

Everyone says the colonoscopy prep is the worst part. I completely agree. It was terrible. It was 64 ounces of lemon/lime Gatorade mixed with a full bottle of mirolax, which you drink after taking four stool softeners. Yum. And you also can’t have anything except clear liquids.

I got out my fancy glass pitcher and mixed my drink, got my reusable straw, and had to drink half at one time and half at like 6:00 the following morning. I thankfully had taken the first appointment available, but it was still an afternoon appointment, so my fasting and prepping lasted essentially two days. I was dreaming of omelettes the whole morning of that Thursday. Just something warm and cheesy. I was starving and I was tired because it was such an active evening of “hanging out” in the bathroom.

When I got to the colonoscopy, they had me get completely undressed and put a gown and some socks on and come on out with everyone else while we get an IV in you. Well, I was very concerned that I still might have to go to the bathroom to make sure it was all cleaned out before I went in. There was also an urgency after all that prep. The nurses, who were so amazing, told me you can never get it all out and the scope has a suction on it for that purpose. Number one, Ew. Number two, already more information than I want to know.

I wanted more than anything to keep my panties on because I felt so exposed, but that would have just been in the way. So there I am in all my glory laying sideways on a table and I’m panicked. Not that they’ll find cancer because nothing bad ever happens to me, but that I’ll have an accident on the table.

It’s the same fear when giving birth. I know it happens, but please don’t let it happen to me.

I find out after that they also take pictures of your innards, aka, the entire colon. Dear Lord, I do not want to see that. Oh, there they are right in front of me. And there’s my tumor. Oh, it’s a cute little mushroom thing. That doesn’t look too bad. Oh, wait, it’s actually 3/4 of the circumference of my colon surrounding the little polyp, that makes more sense. The little polyp could have been snipped out if it had been caught 10 years ago.

And then we go further up the colon in my pictograph and what is that? Oh crap, it’s a fully in tact, not digested, pinto bean. Right there on the camera. How embarrassing. And how in the world did that make it through all that prep? I don’t want to be too graphic but there was A LOT of prep. And I was fixated on that bean. Not on the fact that I had just been diagnosed with probable cancer, but that there was actually a bean still left in what should have been a squeaky clean, cancer-free colon. Let me know if you want to see, but also, no, creeper.

Dying of embarrassment

I haven’t been to the doctor since I lost my good job and my good insurance in 2011. I have been to urgent care a couple of times. Once because I woke up and my knee wouldn’t straighten. I waited a couple of days and used old crutches and finally went to an urgent care where she yelled down the hall after an X-ray that I have arthritis in my knee. Well, both parents have bad knees so I knew that was coming. She gave me muscle relaxers and sent me on my way. Hmm, this doctor thing seems okay, or it’s the muscle relaxers talking.

I also had to go to urgent care once when I was tackled by someone and a bone in my foot was cracked. I went in after an excruciating couple of days walking around Estes Park, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk anymore. A couple months in a boot and pain medication and I was back on my feet.

Is there an opioid crisis because every time I go to the doctor I get muscle relaxers or hydrocodone? I don’t ask for them. I’m not a pill taker. I don’t like it. I don’t want to be at a place where I have to take something every day to live.

Another reason I haven’t been to the doctor besides money is it’s embarrassing. Someone is going to see me naked and all my parts. I don’t even want to see all my parts and they’re my parts. Spoiler alert, I have some weight to lose, of which I’ve lost 60 pounds but still have more. I have to find a doctor, see previous post, I have to take the time off work or wait forever to go in. I’ll be honest, it’s a hassle. Even going every other Thursday is a whole ordeal and it’s required. I’m certainly not going to do something that’s not mandatory.

And it’s fear too, right? What if something is wrong with me that’s really bad. I certainly don’t want to go in and hear, “months to live.” But that’s even more of a reason to go.

I knew something was wrong with me, I just didn’t know what it was. New Year’s Day 2018, we went around the table and talked about our “resolutions” and I said I had some medical stuff I wanted to take care of this year. I wanted to get a doctor. I’d been having this faint but weird pain in my side when I reached for something. I knew most of it was my weight, but I’d been walking and feeling better but something still just didn’t feel right.

Another excuse is that the side I felt the pain on was the side I walked Lola. If you haven’t met Lola, she’s a lovable beast.

We have a couple of things in common in that her doctor thinks she’s overweight too. And she has more in common with my kids in that she’s not a great listener, which translates to — she pulls a little on walks on the right side where I’m having pain. You can justify a lot and make excuses for anything when you’re scared and embarrassed.

I thought, “If I don’t do something soon, I’m going to literally die of embarrassment.” So I went through the arduous process of finding a doctor, which led me to this part of my journey. And I’ve had this polyp for probably 10 years and who knows how long it’s been cancer, so I’m not too hard on myself that things would have been better if I’d have started this process in January, but at least I’d have only had one year of copays and out of pocket instead of two, and I’d be done by now, so maybe I am mad at myself.

The moral of this story is, “Do not die of embarrassment.” Are you over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy? Or 40 with family history of polyps? Are you 40 and haven’t had a mammogram? When was your last pap? All of it sucks and it’s all embarrassing, but it’s also life-saving. Take care of yourself, life is already too short.

Thank yous

It didn’t take long after my diagnosis to know that I can’t afford to have cancer.  I can’t afford my electric bill or groceries some months let alone thousands and thousands of dollars to cancer treatment.  In fact, the reason I hadn’t been to the doctor in six years was because I couldn’t afford it and my co-pay is $40.  It took even less time for my girls to suggest to my sister a GoFundMe because #murica, and my crappy insurance and my out of pocket would bankrupt me, and they were really worried about it.

Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country.  And I didn’t research it, but I’ll bet medical bills are the main source of GoFundMes, too.

My stepmom said not everyone deserves good insurance and went on to tell me why universal healthcare wouldn’t work.  My eyes glazed over.  She’s had cancer twice and is far from bankrupt.  She has the good insurance because my dad worked for the government.  He didn’t have the good cancer because he died three weeks after being diagnosed, but she had the good cancer(s) and good insurance.  And why doesn’t everyone deserve it?  Do I not deserve good insurance or co-pays and deductibles that don’t bankrupt me just because I didn’t marry well ?

Cancer is so expensive even with insurance.  I had to get a crash course in insurance to find out how much I actually have to pay out of pocket and I hope I was right.  I called and had them explain why there were three or four amounts listed on my claim forms.  Well, one is the amount it actually costs, one is the amount the insurance agrees to pay, one amount is what the insurance actually pays, and one is what I owe.  And that all falls on to me until I pay that $1,250 deductible and then I cover 20% until I reach my max out of pocket.

When I first got my colonoscopy and my sweet doctor said it might be quick and painless, I thought, “I hope they wrap this up before the end of the year so I don’t have to pay another year of deductibles and co-pays.”  I was so naïve.  I’m seasoned now. The lady at the insurance company said, “You’ll have to pay that deductible again when the first of the year comes.” And I said, “I know, I got cancer at the wrong time of the year.”  She said, “That’s okay.”

And here’s where I thank everyone who contributed to my GoFundMe.  Knowing I won’t go bankrupt and my cancer is curable is a blessing.  I know how blessed I am, but just know I was against it. It’s embarrassing telling people you can’t provide for yourself. And I had Moonshine and Tenderheart’s college-age friends donating their last $10 to a grown woman who can’t afford cancer treatment.

However, everyone has been so amazing and generous.  And it’s not just monetary, I’ve had people bring meals, which saves me on having to figure out what we’re going to eat.  I’ve had people who I haven’t heard from in years reach out every day to see how I’m doing.  Little stuff like that really lifts my spirits on weekends when I can’t unclench my teeth or I’ll vomit. And I once said in my old blog not to reach out to me if I’m on my death bed and we haven’t talked in years, but I’ve changed my mind about it.

Note: One of my favorites was my friend who said she wouldn’t be reliable for anything I need, but she’ll be there if I ever want to vent.  I love someone who knows their limitations.

And so many stories.  Cancer affects everyone.  I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t been touched in some way by cancer.  And I love you and I love your stories, so keep reaching out.

Also, I’m posting my GoFundMe for the last time.  I should send it to Joe from Craigslist who scammed me out of $300 for a broken refrigerator.

Christy’s GoFundMe Because Cancer Really Sucks

My sister posted some updates on the update tab, and I really do appreciate everyone who’s contributed. I’ll especially be thinking about you in July when I get part of my colon cut out and have to have an ileostomy bag for two months. I’d say, “Kill me,” but cancer’s already trying to do that.

Predictably Predictable

The first weekend after chemo, I feel like shit. I could sugarcoat it, but I can’t even eat sweets until the second week!  That first weekend, I feel terrible. And it doesn’t matter what anti-emetic I take or what I eat. I sit with my teeth clenched so I don’t vomit. I don’t want to eat or drink or talk, I just want it to be over with. This weekend was particularly bad. And I’m sure I just haven’t figured out the trick, but it’s miserable.

I wish I was all sunshine and flowers and “this happens for a reason,” but there’s no reasoning with me that first weekend, and I feel like I slept a lot on Saturday.  So much so that Tenderheart was googling if sleeping a lot during chemo was normal and holding a mirror under my nose to make sure I was breathing.  Thankfully I was.  And it lasted until Tuesday.  I’m usually “back to normal” on Monday, but this time it took a little longer.

And part of it was my fault.  I wasn’t hydrating enough, but honestly, if I had to drink one more drink of warm water, I was going to lose it.  So I had Sunshine get me Gatorade and I mixed that with my warm water and it was so much better, like life changing.  It’s all trial and error.  And what worked the first weekend, didn’t work this weekend.  I can’t eat the same thing over and over without gagging.

The nurses are wonderful, but they want to make sure I feel “normal”, which basically means, to them, not nauseous.  But what does “normal” even mean to me?  I have cancer in my colon, literally nothing feels normal anymore.  And I’m at the point…you know when you have a sore throat or a yeast infection, and it’s been so long, and you’re like, “Will I ever feel better?” That’s where I am without all the itching.

Just the thought of having to go back in less than two weeks with the tastes and smells and having to suck on Altoids because I can taste them flushing my port, I have to be honest, it’s discouraging and making me more nauseous.  And I have to do this five more times? Yes, I do.  And obviously I can, but I’m almost to the “why” part of this diagnosis, the why me? I skipped right over the “what the hell” this week and moved to the why.  I soaked in a lake of pity for a while and I’m back out, dried off, and feeling better.

Here’s where I tell you why they’ll never eradicate cancer.  Because every gorgeous cancer pavilion would look like the old Olympic villages that were promised to be something amazing and ended up being abandoned.

olympics

Look at my gorgeous cancer pavilion:

Are they going to turn that into a homeless shelter when cancer’s eradicated? I’m not going to get too political, but probably not.

And how much money’s been donated to cancer research and they still don’t have a real cure or a vaccine or prevention?  Most of the money collected for some of these charities goes mostly to administrative fees.  I know people need jobs, but that doesn’t seem right.  We need a Wakanda lab to get up to speed on what’s been done and take it from here. You know they don’t have cancer in Wakanda.

 

Thinner…

…and not in the places you want to be.  Remember when the doctor said I wasn’t going to lose my hair.  I think they have a different idea of what “losing” my hair means.  They said it will thin and grow more slowly, which is good for the little hairs I have to pluck off my chin like some fairy tale witch, but bad for the hair on my head that I’ve always been particularly fond of.  Remember when I said I didn’t want to lose my hair because I have the biggest head of anyone you’ve ever met?  Okay, I didn’t say it like that, but it’s close.

The fourth day after my second round of chemo, it was as if a gypsy touched my head and said, “Thinner.”  My hair started coming out in handfuls.  Listen, I get it, it shouldn’t be a big deal, and if I had a good haircut or a smaller head maybe it wouldn’t be, but remember when I got the worst haircut in the history of haircuts before I went in for my first round of chemo?  Okay, well, I did and my bangs are too short which sucks for that “growing more slowly” part of the curse.  They didn’t cut it short enough and now that I have neutropenia, I can’t go to my cheap haircut place and get it cut by someone else.  Do they even wipe down those chairs?  And now my hair is in that weird place where it’s too short for a ponytail, but not short enough to be a cute chin-length bob, which is what I asked for!!

Yes, these are first-world problems.  I get it, people are losing their hair and dying from cancer every day.  I understand how lucky I am that I have the “curable” cancer and the chemo that only makes your hair thin and your chin hairs grow more slowly, but I don’t want to look like Meep from “American Horror Story: Freakshow” at the end of this with one sprig of hair.

My mom said she could cut it for me, and I said, “Can you cut hair?” And she said, “Well, I can cut a straight line.” And I’m pretty sure with that resume she can get a job at the Super Clips that did this to me.

 

And exactly how big is my forehead?

And before any of you say anything about how it’s not that bad, I got a Snapchat from my kids’ hair stylist who said, “Your bangs are too short. Don’t listen to those jokers.” I literally love an honest person.

Also, I really do get how it’s not a big deal if I lose my hair, but you can tell people that on your blog. On my blog, I’m just going to complain sometimes. I love you and you get what you pay for.

 

No one fights alone

I made a proclamation before Christmas that I didn’t want any cancer-related gifts from my girls. I actually didn’t want any gifts because they don’t have a lot of money and I don’t really need anything.

I told Tenderheart I wanted a “Mom” license plate holder from her school and a “Mom” sticker from Moonshine’s school and that was it.

I had already gotten a care package from my sister and Tracie, which was very nice. The blanket was prayed over by their church and Tracie took it with her to chemo appointments:

I also received a thoughtful chemo kit from my cousin Gayla:

Tenderheart was going to my next appointment and asked if Gayla had sent a “buddy pack”, and Sunshine yelled at her, “Are you jealous of Mom’s chemo kit?”

She still managed to get in on the coloring:

I ended up getting a couple practical gifts for Christmas like an electric razor from Sunshine because I’m not supposed to be using a regular razor for some made up cancer-related reason, and I got a scarf and warm socks from my mom.

But the best “cancer” gift ended up being from me. I got my tribe matching shirts because it’s true, no one fights alone nor would I want to. With these guys in my corner, there’s no way I can lose.

And I thought our ribbon color was brown but apparently it’s blue. Brown seems more appropriate.

Never falling up

Hospitals need better lighting. I look awful in the pic in my last post but here are some good ones of Christmas Eve with the good lighting, including a mask pic.

And I really can’t stop laughing about the show Moonshine made of giving everyone hand sanitizer. You get hand sanitizer, you get hand sanitizer, YOU GET HAND SANITIZER!! I’m sure everyone wishes it was Oprah and a car.

I told my sister, “Remember when we talked about something other than cancer? You think we’ll get back to just yelling about politics?”

Some other non-cancer related things have happened in my life. Moonshine and her boyfriend came home for Christmas. I haven’t seen her since August so it’s so good to see her, and we love him. We said if there’s a break up, we’re keeping him.

I woke up one Sunday two weeks ago and my refrigerator was warm. Well, that can’t be good. I’ve had it for 11 years and it’s been trying to go out for a while, and the freezer stopped being consistent about four years ago so I bought a cheap deep freeze for the freezer part but this time it was for real. I was alone and had a complete breakdown because I can’t touch anything cold and I was trying to save what I could. Luckily for everyone involved, I’m poor and never have a lot of food in there anyway. I got my gloves and my ice chest and started putting in anything that wasn’t bad. Luckily, I’m in Colorado and it’s cold outside. Unluckily, my deck off the kitchen faces east so it was getting morning sun and wasn’t cold at all. I had a bag of ice in my deep freeze from a graduation party so that sufficed.

I called my sister who’s a fixer and they sprung into action. By that afternoon I had Joe from Craigslist, who said he repairs and resells appliances from his home, bringing me a used but “working and in perfect condition” refrigerator and hauling away my old one at a reasonable price. He told me that up to a year he would fix or replace it, and I even gave him my old dryer in the garage that he took for free. It all seems too good to be true. Yeah, because it is.

Joe got my old fridge to the bottom of the stairs and said he would have to charge me more because it was too big to get out the door. Oh, so this is how they get you. I said I didn’t have any more money and thankfully his helper was able to take my front door off and get it out. Then they brought in an almost identical replica, which I know is redundant, but it looked exactly like my old one just a little smaller. I thought, “I don’t usually fall up.” And you’re right, I don’t.

I gave it 24 hours and the freezer wasn’t making ice. I put in ice trays and they didn’t freeze by the following day. But that’s okay, I’m used to not having a freezer so if the fridge side still works, I’m good. And then I thought about my kids who have no memory of having a working freezer in the house, and I want them to know that’s not normal. Normal people have fully working appliances. Normal people can get things fixed when they break. Normal people don’t live like this.

It took only a few days for the fridge side to stop working too but the back wall of the freezer was completely covered in ice. I tried to call Craigslist Joe two days later and you might be surprised to find his cell went straight to voice mail, which was full. Then I texted and said, “Hey, you delivered a fridge two days ago and the freezer doesn’t make ice, is that something you can fix?” Remember when I said he gets appliances, fixes them, and resells them. You might be shocked to find out that that was not true. He gets them and resells them but he does not fix them.

He texted back that he was on the highway to Florida for a family emergency, which I’m sure my $300 paid for, but he would bring me another one when he got back. I don’t want another one, I want this one fixed, but I literally just want a working fridge. That’s not too much to ask.

You might have caught on by now but I never heard back from him. I texted again Monday, Christmas Eve, and then Tracie got involved and he called her back and said he’d send someone to fix it. In the meantime, all my food is in the cooler on the back porch like we’re camping. Merry Christmas to me. And enjoy your neutropenia.

I started looking for deals and found a refrigerator with a top freezer at Sears for a decent price that can be delivered hopefully by the time you’re reading this so I can ring in 2019 with a fully functioning refrigerator.

You might be thinking, “Is Sears still around?” It sure is and they have pretty good deals on appliances because they probably won’t be in business for much longer. And because I don’t fall up, what’s going to happen is they’ll go out of business and in two weeks this fridge will be half price.

Sunshine’s just excited because now she can keep her ice cream in the house instead of in the deep freeze in the garage. I love that my kids are just happy with the little things.

And who scams a cancer patient? Joe from Craigslist, that’s who.