The Pink Parade, and Why I Won’t Be in It.

Saturday is the day of the local Race for the Cure.  Last year was my first year participating in this event, and I have to say, it was a good time.  When I did it last year, I was still mostly bald from chemo.  When I did it last year, it was the weekend before my mastectomy—in fact, I had the mastectomy date bumped out just so I could attend.  When I did it last year, I had only had two surgeries.  When I did it last year, I was another month away from beginning radiation. 


I didn’t participate in the survivor activities.  Didn’t go to the breakfast.  Skipped the survivor parade.  At the time, it just all felt really weird to me.  I was in the middle of my various treatments, and I didn’t feel like I’d survived much of anything yet.  Several of my survivor friends asked me, “Hey, where were you?” when they saw me after the parade, and I told them I’d just been hangin’ with the fam.  I was way more comfortable watching the parade than I’d had been walking in it.


Fast forward.


I’ve now done the radiation.  I’ve had three more surgeries.  I’ve been cut, and fried, and poisoned so much that people long ago got bored with my drama and stopped sending cards.  (Probably couldn’t afford to, what with the price of postage these days.)  My hair is long enough that if you didn’t know, you’d never know.  I suppose I’m probably an official survivor now, but I still don’t want to do the parade. 


This time last year, I thought maybe I’d feel differently the next time around.  I don’t.  I know that it’s supposed to be a celebration of survival, but to me, it still feels like “Woo hoo! I’ve got the cancer!”  You know, I’m not special because I’ve had to go through this crap.  I’m just me.  And I’ve gone through some crap.  That’s all.  And I don’t like the squirmy feeling I get inside when it seems that people are admiring me for simply living.  “Look at YOU!  We thought you were gonna die, and here you are breathing and everything!”


That’s not to say that I want to be all in the closet with my cancer experience or anything.  Obviously, that’s not the case.  If nothing else, I’d wear my pink shirt just because I think people need to see that there are a whole lot of young survivors.  (Isn’t it cute how I’ve somehow convinced myself that I’m still young?)  Maybe one of these days that will result in some better options for post-mastectomy garments.  The kind that say “Grrr!” instead of the kind that say “Grandma!” 


So, I’ll be at the Race, but I’ll pass on the survivor celebration.  I celebrate every day by living a normal life. 


p.s. Tomorrow is October 1, the official start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  (What?  Breast cancer?  Who ever heard of breast cancer?) Check in to see the first of my readers’ favorite pink ribbon products. 

Cultural Mecca

I live out in the sticks, but my mailing address is attached to a little town a couple of miles away.  This past weekend was the annual Apple Festival, an event which boasts that it’s been going strong since 1970.  Of course, the apple orchards had been bulldozed to make way for bean fields prior to that, but we don’t pay any attention to such trivial matters.  Besides, who’s going to come to a soybean festival? (Other than, maybe, the same folks who would patronize an exhibit all about corn.)  I’m sure that over the years there have been many folks who’ve arrived here expecting some quaint little town, just brimming with orchards, and cider, and apples, only to be met with flea markets and one measly apple selling booth. 



 But, this year, the town has almost made up for the lack of apples with its latest cultural addition to the festival.  Yes, indeed, an event so classy and artsy that a new attendance record was set on Saturday.  I’m referring to that that modern Roman circus known as lawn mower demolition derby.  Such an impressive event, that I heard it drew a film crew from CMT—Country Music Television. 


 Why, God?  Why? 


 Why does it have to be my town?  You know, this is already the place with the apple-less apple festival—like that’s not embarrassing enough.  Now, it’s drawing record attendance for lawn mower demo derby, a “sport” which seems to me to be just one big set-up for an episode of Rescue 911.  And as if it’s not bad enough for this to be local knowledge, now it’s going to be featured on CMT.  From now on, when I tell people where we live, they’ll no longer say “Oh, the home of the apple festival.”  Instead they’ll say, “Isn’t that where they have that hilljack lawn mower demolition derby?”


 But, hey, I guess it could be worse.  It could be the lawn mower-less lawn mower demolition derby.  Who am I kidding?  It’s probably just a matter of time.

Retro…or Just Plain Wrong?

Is 80’s hair back in style?  Not late 80’s ginormous hair.  I’m talking about late 70’s, early 80’s hair.  The kind that required a big comb be stationed in the back pocket of your Jordache jeans at all times.  I ask because my hair appears to be regressing, and I’m hoping that its new look will just happen to be coming back in vogue.  Otherwise, I’m going to look like I never left 1983, or at least never wanted to. 

 As we all know, I’ve been through more hairdos in the past year than most people have even had since 1983.  Yet, I’m doomed to look like an outdated dork unless my 7th grade hairstyle is suddenly somehow trendy again.  Sometimes, I think that bald wasn’t so bad after all.  At least when you’re bald, people usually grab the clue that you didn’t actually choose to be that way.  Even when your hair is first growing in, it’s pretty obvious that you just finished up chemo, so you really don’t feel like a dork. 

 However, once you get a few months down the road, it’s not so obvious anymore.  Makes you feel like you need to wear a sign at all times explaining that your head is a work in progress.  “Please excuse my light bulb hair—6 months ago I was bald.”  I’m way past the light bulb stage now, but my five inch long locks have their own set of issues.  They’re at the place where leaving them curly results in Richard Simmons hair.  Yet, trying to straighten them requires more patience than I would have even if I used my entire life’s allotment.  Besides, I’m a homeschool mom, remember?  I’m running on the half cup of patience I had to borrow from the next door neighbor as it is. 

 Lately, I’ve been trying to use a round brush the approximate diameter of a can of pork and beans to create a sort of in between look.  I’ve found that if I round brush it under while drying, what I end up with after some goop and manipulation is a sort of generic Everymom look.  That’s okay, I guess, but I recently decided to try round brushing it up instead.  In my mind’s eye, I was envisioning some kind of cool retro flip thing.  What I ended up with instead was my 7th grade hair, except instead of being parted in the middle it’s parted on the side. 

Maybe I should just own my 80’s hair, regardless of whether or not it’s actually back in style.  You know, I could just jump right into that whole look with both feet.  After all, it’s no big deal to starch my shirt collar up, right?  And, I’m sure I can find a pair of penny loafers somewhere.  If only I still had the purple parachute pants that went with that shirt—dang it!  Because, of course, I’d still fit into them, right?  I mean, my driver’s license says I still weigh 118 lbs, and that’s an official government document, so it MUST be right. 

Now, you might be concerned that I’d be an embarrassment to my family, but fear not.  Why, Hubster still has a pair of Eastlands.  He never has quite left the 80’s himself.  And just the other day I taught Mini Me how to peg her jeans.  We’re all set!  Look for us next time you’re out and about….we’ll be the ones drinking New Coke and driving a K car.

This Post is Brought to You by The Letter P

Once again, Mini Me is at her high falutin’ harp class and I’m hanging out working on a blog entry.  This time, however, I’ve ditched Panera in favor of Barnes & Noble, which is much more quiet.  


So, anywho, all of this free time I’ve got tonight affords me the opportunity to check out the search engine terms, which are a perpetual source of amusement.  We’ve still got folks getting here by searching for pork fritters.  Even funnier is that one search was apparently for “pork fritter”.  Yup.  In QUOTES.  That’s just priceless.


Not so much funny as it is disturbing is the number of hits I get from people who are apparently searching for bald girlfriends.  Yikes.  I think I’ve figured out by cross-referencing my Sitemeter stats that those searchers are almost entirely from outside the US.  From places like Slovakia.  Where the women are evidently hairy and the men wish they weren’t.  Or something.  Nevermind.  I don’t think I want to know.


I am getting a few hits from folks searching for Panera products, which is fun.  Don’t ask me why I get such a kick out of that.  It’s not like I hate Panera or anything.  In fact, I like Panera.  And I like their Pink Ribbon Bagel.  I just think it’s too stinkin’ expensive.  But not nearly as inflated as the price of their cream cheese, which is, like 15 bucks for what my grandma would have called a smidgen.   Fortunately for me, the Cinnamon Crunch Bagel has enough cinnamony, crunchy goodness, that it doesn’t really even need cream cheese. 


Now, you may be wondering why I don’t stay on campus while Mini Me has her lesson and master class.  The answer is simple: parking.  Or rather, lack of parking.  Oh, there’s a parking garage about a block and a half from where lessons are, but it would cost me about 10 Pink Ribbon Bagels (hold the cream cheese) to park there for the 3 hours I’ll be in town.  And sure, I can get an after hours parking pass for about 20 Pink Ribbon Bagels which would enable me to park not in the lot right behind the building, but in another lot approximately 6 miles southeast of Egypt.  Or, for the price of a coffee and a cinnamon scone, I can park for free and hang out at Barnes & Noble. 


And since we’re all pink ribbony up in here these days…remember a few months back when I entered that essay contest for the Under Armour Power in Pink campaign?  And remember how, after I got my Dear Jane letter, I noticed that the thing was decided 50% by the essay and 50% by the photo I submitted?  Want proof that it was my pudgy pork fritter photo that lost the thing for me?  Check out the winners at I’m sorry Under Armour, apparently you said you were looking fitties—I thought you said fatties.  My bad.   

Blog Swiffering

I’ve been doing a little house cleaning.  No, not on my actual house, silly!  (No one was seriously thinking that I was really cleaning my life real house, were they?)  I’m talking about the blog’s sidebar.  Specifically, I have kicked a few links off the blogroll, and replaced them with some I’ve decided I like better.  I’m all fickle like that, you know. 

 First, let me tell you what I nuked.  The 5 Minutes for Mom blog got nuked because I never read it.  The only reason it ever got on there in the first place is because I participated in their blog party.  Other than that, I’m pretty disinterested, so bye-bye 5 Minutes for Mom.  The other blog I nuked from the roll is Stuff White People Like.  SWPL used to be funny.  I bet the authors were totally relieved to get that book deal two days before they completely ran out of anything funny to say.  Whew!  That was a close one, huh?

 Replacing those links are some of my new faves.  First off, is Cake Wrecks, which literally makes me laugh out loud.  You guys think I’m funny, but I don’t read my own writing when I want a really good laugh.  I go to Cake Wrecks (or the skating rink).  Of course, the visual element is a big part of what makes both Cake Wrecks and the skating rink so stinkin’ funny, but the commentary is mighty hilarious, too.

 In place of Stuff White People Like, we now have Stuff Christians Like.  Okay, while I’m generally annoyed by Christian versions of secular things—think remakes of songs like YMCA so that they have a Christian message—this blog is not only very funny, but also thought-provoking and well-written. Tuesday’s entry involving Jock Jesus was just plain funny, but many of Jon’s entries, such as today’s, are just good brain food.

 Finally, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a total word nerd.  Just last night, in fact, I proclaimed, “I love alliteration…a lot.”  A natural part of being a word nerd is the aversion to quotation mark abuse.  It makes something deep within me clench up and get irrationally irritated (Did I mention that I love alliteration?  A lot?) whenever I “see” quotation marks “used” in random and inexplicable ways.  Here’s the deal for those of you who are always wanting to apply quotation marks to everything you write: Unless you’re writing dialogue, those quotation marks are probably completely unnecessary.  Put the punctuation down and slowly back away.  That leads me to the final addition to the blog roll, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotations. 

The Breast Cancer Bagel: Would you like that sliced and toasted?

Mini Me is at her high falutin’ harp class, and I am hunkered down with a decaf iced caramel latte at Panera.  The free wi-fi provides me the opportunity to do a little writing, but don’t be surprised if it’s full of a lot of annoying typos since this is the busiest Panera on the planet, and I can barely hear myself think.

Being the middle of September and all, it’s kind of like pre-October, so Panera already has their breast cancer bagel on the menu.  I think this is already starting to be like Christmas, where the advertisng starts earlier, and earlier each year. 

I had one of the Pink Ribbon Bagels at last year’s Race for the Cure, and I have to admit that they’re pretty tasty.  However, I think the Race is the ONLY place I’ll be eatin’ those puppies.  They’re free there—at least if you’re wearing a pink shirt—but in real life they cost $2.45.  For a BAGEL.  I suppose a certain percentage of that goes to Komen or something, but really, a two dollar and forty-five cent bagel?  That’s real charitable of you, Panera, doubling the price of the product so the customer is the one who does all the donating.

I think that BC survivors should get their pink ribbon bagels for free.  I mean, sheesh, Panera, if you’re going to exploit me, the least you can do is feed me.  “Breast cancer survivors—show your scars, and get your pink ribbon bagel FREE!  (Cream cheese not included.)”    I’d be all over it.  I ain’t proud.  Shoot, I’ll even show you my non-BC scars if it’ll get my coffee for free.

And speaking of pink ribbons…I forgot to bring the camera with me tonight.  I intended to bring it so that I could snap some pictures of some of the great pink ribbon products I saw last week at Target.  How about you?  Have you seen any amusing or ridiculous breast cancer awareness stuff?  Please, get a picture and email it to me at  I really, really, really want to have a whole collection of these to post in October.

Pork Fritter Popularity

It’s always interesting, and sometimes downright disturbing, to me to see the search engine terms folks have used to find this blog.  As I’ve mentioned before, more people have come here after searching for pork fritters than anything else.  In fact, the top three search phrases leading readers here are Pete’s Pride pork fritters (29 hits), pork fritters (14 hits), and pork fritter (9 hits).  There have been a total of 65 hits resulting from pork fritter searchers.  I mentioned this to Hubster the other day, so he googled Pete’s Pride pork fritters.  This blog was the second listing to come up—beaten out only by Sam’s Club, which is probably paying to be number one. 

 I laughed pretty hard when I heard that. How on earth did I get so high on the list?  Is it perhaps because of posts like this where I mention pork fritters, like, seven times in the first paragraph?  Because, hey, I’m all attention starved, you know, and once I find out pork fritters are a portal to internet popularity, well, there’s just no telling how many times I’ll talk about Pete’s Pride pork fritters. 

 Interestingly, almost no one gets here by searching for breast cancer.  Seriously. Like three people have found me that way.  Do I just not talk about it enough to rank high on google?  Or is it just that there’s way more info out there about breast cancer than there is about pork fritters?  Or maybe it’s both.

 Still, sometimes people do find me by searching for things like “breast cancer bald school”.  Shoot!  I didn’t know there was a school for learning to be bald and cancery!  Why didn’t I think of that?  I can just picture those late-night commercials with Sally Struthers saying, “At In The Pink Breast Cancer Bald School, you can get your degree in TV/VCR repair, chemotherapy, basket weaving, radiation burns, ditto machine operations, or breast cancer baldness.” 

 And other times, I get hits from searches like “high waist open bottom girdle”.  Now, I’m not really sure why that brought up my blog, but even more confusing to me is that the person felt like they needed to specify that the girdle be open at the bottom.  Presumably, a girdle would at the very least be open at the leg holes.  Unless you’re needing a girdle for your weeble, which might even be more of a specialty item than the “aunt girdle swimsuit” that someone else was apparently looking for. 

 Not sure how I feel about people googling girdles and having my blog come up as a possible place to find them.  There are no girdles here.  Only pork fritters.  Lots and lots of pork fritters.

She Gave Me Woht-tah

As you all know, on August 14th I had surgery to place the tissue expander under my pectoral muscles.  I’ve been asked by some folks what the expander is like.  They want to know if it’s like an implant.  The answer is no.  It is not like an implant.  It is like a man’s wallet.  Seriously.  It has approximately the same size and rigidity as a wallet.  An angry, painful wallet. 

The angry boob wallet will gradually be filled with saline in order to stretch out a place for an implant to go.  No, this is not the same procedure that is used for the standard breast augmentation.  In that case, the implant is stuffed under the breast tissue, but on top of the muscle.  Remember, I have no breast tissue on that side.  The remaining skin does not have an adequate blood supply unless it’s attached to the muscle.  So, the implant needs to go underneath. 

Dr Grasee added some saline when she placed the expander, and because of that, and well, the fact that there’s a wallet in there, I had a little mini-boob immediately.  It’s kind of cool, except that now I really can’t wear The Foob.  This wasn’t a big deal when I came home from the hospital, because when I went out, I simply tucked my drain up in my bra to fill out that side.

That’s how it was when I went a couple of weeks ago for my post-op appointment.  It didn’t even occur to me until Hubster mentioned it that once the drain was out, I’d be pretty flat on that side.  “Did you bring anything to put in there?” he asked.  Oops.  Hmmm…What can I make a mini foob out of?

Fortunately, we had a few minutes before my appointment, and there was a Meijer nearby.  Gettin’ my Macgyver on, I said, “Let’s swing through Meijer, and get some cotton balls and one of those shoe try-on footies.”  The result looks less like our friend The Foob, and more like a prosthetic Quasimodo.  But, it serves its purpose nonetheless.

Yesterday I went back to Dr Grasee’s office for my first fill.  I had read that she would use a magnet to locate the port on my expander, but my attempts to find it using refrigerator magnets had failed.  (Yes, I did try to stick refrigerator magnets to my chest.  This was Angie’s idea, and would have been stinkin’ hilarious had it worked.)  So, I asked Dr G how she would locate the port, and she confirmed that she’d be using a magnet.  I then proceeded to tell her how I’d tried to find it with a refrigerator magnet—I like to establish my reputation early, and reinforce it often.  She chuckled and asked me why I wanted to find it.  No reason, I told her, I just wanted to see if I could get a magnet to stick.

Dr G put 80cc of saline into the expander, which is roughly a 1/3 of a cup.  Hubster got to literally watch the new boob grow before his very eyes.  It has been a little sore, but it’s really nothing compared to the pain I had from surgery.  It is not, however, comparable to the muscle pain one might have from a hard workout, which is what Dr G and Tricia the nurse said it would be like.  It’s more comparable to how I felt after some really bad bike wrecks as a kid, where parts of me were bruised and scraped and hurt to move. 


Now that you’re all up-to-date, I’d like to announce a new contest.  Or, maybe not a contest so much as an opportunity for some audience participation.  As we ALL know, October is breast cancer awareness month.  If you’ve read me for a while, you know that in the past I’ve poked fun at all of the pink ribbon hype that October brings.  So, I thought it might be amusing to see what kind of ridiculous pink ribbon infested products everyone can find.  I’d love to be able to post one each day in October.  Witty commentary is encouraged.  Email your photos to me at