Come on Barbie, Let’s go Party…

After my last post, reader Lizz suggested that perhaps the talking object featured at the wisdom circle could be a Cancer Journey Barbie or Ken.  Well, Lizz, you’ll be happy to note that Mattel is right there on the cutting edge of wisdom circle accessories with Pink Ribbon Barbie.  

pink-ribbon-barbie

(I can’t believe no one submitted this back in October!)

 The description for our plastic pink ribbon pal reads as follows:

 “For more than 20 years, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has been leading the fight against breast cancer and now Barbie doll contributes to the cause. Wearing a pink gown with a signature pink ribbon pinned to her shoulder, Pink Ribbon Barbie doll is both a tool to help those affected with breast cancer talk to girls, and a way to support the cause!”

  See, Lizz, it even says right there that our friend Barbie is a TOOL to help those affected with breast cancer talk to girls.  Because, you know we’ve got all this pent up wisdom that just can’t get out without Barbie’s help. 

 However, I’m not quite sure that think Barbie should be all fancy like she is.  I think that sends the wrong message.  I mean, there they go making cancer look glamorous again.  Next thing you know girls will be trying to get The Cancer so they can look as cool as ol’ Pink Ribbon Barbie. 

 So, I’d like to suggest a more realistic Pink Ribbon Barbie.  Remember when you were little and you cut Barbie’s hair?  Well, that’s exactly what my hair looked like the day I had Hubster cut it off for Locks of Love, before we actually shaved it.  I think that’s the hair Pink Ribbon Barbie needs—not some Texas pageant hair like she’s got going on now.  And what’s with having two boobs?  Oh sure, they do kind of look like she’s got expanders, but if we’re trying to educate the youngsters, I think they need to know that sometimes The Cancer makes you have to have a boob lopped off.  Of course, we won’t let Barbie walk around lopsided, though.  She’ll need to have her own little foob and mastectomy bra. 

 Then there are the accessories.  Forget the Barbie Townhouse and the RV, Pink Ribbon Barbie needs the Barbie Breast MRI & Manicure Machine and the Barbie Radiation Station.  She’ll have a little tube of goop to put on her burnt chest and everything.  It’ll be great.  And don’t forget that Pink Ribbon Barbie mustn’t have any eyebrows, so she’ll have to come with a little pencil for drawing those on.  And of course, she’ll need an assortment of do rags and hats.  And a wig that looks just like B-52s hair—sold separately.

 I’m sure I’m missing something.  What else does The New Pink Ribbon Barbie need?

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My Fate Rests in Your Hands

So, the other day I got this letter in the mail inviting me to a breast cancer powwow.  The letter and event brochure came in an envelope with my name and address on it.  You may not think that’s significant.  You may be thinking, “Well, Moody, how else would they address it?  Surely you wouldn’t expect them to just send out a mass mailing addressed to ‘current resident’ would you?”  I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t.  Because the letter itself opened with the greeting: Dear Person with a Diagnosis of Breast Cancer.

 Gee, how do they make it feel so doggone personal?  Amazing!  I feel so loved.

 The letter is signed by Patsy, who took the time to actually sign her name along with her impressive alphabet of credentials, which is obviously more important than taking the time to address me by my name.  Now granted, my name doesn’t normally have a bunch of fancy pants letters after it, but thanks to ol’ Patsy, I can now call myself Moody Foodie, PWDBC.  That is my identity these days, right?  Person with a diagnosis of breast cancer?  Or current resident.  It’s kind of a toss up.

 These items came from Union Hospital  in conjunction with The Maple Center in Terre Haute.  I did my radiation at Hux Cancer Center, so I’m assuming that’s how I got on their list.  Ironically, Patsy makes a point of telling me to “Rest assured that your name and address has been kept confidential.”  My name, you say?  And what might that be?  Hmm?  Current resident?  Person with a Diagnosis of Breast Cancer?  Shhh! Someone might steal my identity!  (And, Patsy, it’s HAVE.  They HAVE been kept confidential.  Good grief, you’re making us sound like illiterate hilljacks.  Dang.)

 I know you’re all anxious to hear about this cancer powwow I’ve been invited to.  It’s called “Celebration of Life”.  Okay, not bad so far, although I have most often heard that phrase used in regard to funerals.  But, I can get past that if it’s going to be some super cool event, right?  Says it’s a “one day seminar to pamper inspire, energize and teach.”  So, it sounds like it has potential.  I mean, pamper sounds like pedicures and hot stone massages, right?  And that thing about teaching sounds good.  I’m all about education.  I bet they’ll be doing sessions about breast reconstruction techniques, and post-chemo fertility issues facing young women, and all sorts of relevant stuff.  

 Let’s take a look at the brochure together, shall we? 

 Oh.  Wow.  One of the first session options is “Cultivating Support on Your Journey: Using Collage.” Dude, they just used the J word.  And collage?  Collage?  Seriously?  I realize that I am biased, in that I have always and forever considered collage to be the lamest form of art (and I use the term loosely) known to man, but this makes me want to go straight for my eye-poking spork. 

 But it’s got to get better, right?  Surely there’s a pedicure in there somewhere.  Let’s look at our options for the second session.  “Wisdom Circle (Sharing insight): Using guidelines from the Wisdom Circle Format inspired by councils of indigenous people, this circle discussion using a talking object allows us to share wisdom and compassion.”  What kind of Mickey Mouse new-agey crap is that?  Because we all know that there’s no wisdom or compassion without a “talking object”.  <insert eye roll here>  But, hey, if we must use an object to talk for us, I volunteer The Foob.  He may not be wise or compassionate, but doggone it, he’ll sound French as he says, “You do not need Zee Foob, or zee wisdom circle, you need a zinnamon latte—now zuck it up!”

 I’m torn.  Going to this thing would no doubt give me SO much material.  Yet, do I really want to spend a day collaging and getting my weirdness on in the wisdom circle?  This thing is March 7th, so I have a little time.  Perhaps I’ll leave it to you to decide. 

Another Visit with Dr Beer-Hurray

Picture taken on my previous visit in November.

Picture taken on my previous visit in November.

I had my quarterly appointment with Dr Birhiray last week.  Believe it or not, I actually look forward to this even though the minimum wait time is an hour and I have to be both weighed and have a blood draw.  The blood draw is getting to be progressively more difficult, because I only have one usable side, and that side’s kind of worn out at this point.  Last time, after the arm was a great big FAIL, they actually had to use a little chemo needle in order to draw blood out of my hand.  It was great!  As soon as she finished, I said, “Thank you ma’am, may I have another?”  She told me, no, that I’d have to wait until next time, and I pouted all the way home.  That’s how much fun it was. 

 So, anywho, in spite of all that, I still look forward to my appointments with Dr B.  Part of this is because he’s just plain fun, which is a very good quality for an oncologist, especially for MY oncologist.  And part of it is because he actually reads my blog, and he mentions it every time I visit—so, he’s totally speaking my love language.  Awesome. 

 Occasionally, Dr B has other doctors following him around the office.  I’ve never figured out if they’re full-fledged doctors, or doctors-in-progress, or what exactly it is that they’re doing.  Perhaps they’re learning how to be a good oncologist, in which case they’re in the right place.  At any rate, other than the fact that they get to see my boobs (and really, is there anyone in the medical community who hasn’t seen them at this point anyway?) they don’t really have any bearing on my visit.  This visit was one of those times that Dr B had a tag-along. 

 I don’t remember his name, except that it started with an O….OompaLoompa, Obadiah, something like that.  So, anyway, Dr B comes in and introduces Dr Oklahoma, then proceeds to ask me how I’ve been doing, if I have any questions or concerns, etc.  In the meantime, Dr Okinawa is standing off to the side perusing a stack of papers, which I assumed might have something to do with my medical history.  Finally Dr B says, “We’ve been reading about you.” At which point I look over at Dr Okey-Dokey who is chuckling as he shows me what is actually in his hand—print-outs of my blog.   Since I’m nothing if not narcissistic, that totally works for me, and I decide right then and there that I like this Dr Odometer, even if he is the eleventy-seventh stranger to see my boobs in the past 2 years.

 As it turns out, the post they’ve printed off is not the current one, but the one from January 14th.  I said to Dr Oleo, “That’s not the latest post.  You’ll have to check out the current one later.”  I also told him I’d be blogging about him—so Dr Onomatopoeia, if you’re out there, it was nice meeting you—sorry I don’t remember your name, it’s that memory thing we talked about, you know.  Maybe Dr B needs to put me on Ritalin after all. 

 Then, in one of the most amusing moments of my visit, (second only to the raging fun I had being weighed) Dr B starts talking about my blog and refers to my “cancer journey”.  I bust out laughing, and tell him he needs to read the latest blog post.

******

Some of you may remember the posts from this past July when my nephew’s best friend was killed in a motorcycle accident.  At the time, I wrote two entries chronicling the events of that week.  I’ll be adding the final installment of that story after the first two, dated the same week.  If you care to read it, you’ll find it here.

Are We There Yet?

People throw around a lot of cliché words and phrases when they’re talking about The Cancer.  One that lately has become my least favorite is referring to the whole cancer thing as a “journey”.  Because, really, what’s up with that?  I mean, yeah, I guess it’s better than referring to it as your “cancer death sentence” or your “epic cancer battle” but gee, a journey makes it sound kind of like fun.  Oooh!  We’re going on a journey!  Maybe we’ll see the Grand Canyon, or Mount Rushmore.  It implies movement that, when chemo’s got you on your face kicking the snot out of you, is not happening.  Not only that, but to me it seems like an attempt to some how glamorize The Cancer.  Oh, look how brave you are on that big, exciting, cancer journey of yours! 

 

And no one chooses The Cancer, so what famous journey might we compare it to?  Lewis & Clark?  Nope, they chose to go on their journey.  Magellan?  Nope, can’t compare it to that either.  It’s more like the Trail of Tears.  Nobody asked if you wanted to go.  If they had, you’d have said no.  You’re going someplace you really don’t want to be.  Not everyone on the “journey” with you will even make it there.  Doesn’t that sound great?  I don’t know about the rest of you cancer girls out there, but I’ve spent this whole “journey” trying to get back to my normal.

 

I know I’m sounding a little grumpy these days.  Maybe that’s because I’ve been absolutely bombarded by cancer questions lately.  Now let me be clear, if you’re a survivor, or you’ve been recently diagnosed, I do not mind talking, to you about The Cancer at all.  What wears me down is folks who are basically just asking because that’s the only thing they know (and apparently all they care to know) about me. 

 

Last weekend was a combined service at my church.  That meant that all of the old folks who normally don’t see me, saw me, and they all felt the need to ask about The Cancer.  I told Angie, “It’s like I’ve got two kids.  First they ask how The Cancer’s doing, and then in the next breath they ask how Mini Me is doing.”  In truth, it’s not quite the same, because when they’re asking about The Cancer they use this kind of hushed, cautious tone and they say “How are you?”  Unfortunately, the generic answer is never good enough for them.  I say, “I’m doing fine.”  Then, not satisfied with that, and obviously unable to read my body language which I know has to be screaming “Stop talking about The Cancer!” they’ll inevitably ask something like, “Are you in remission?” 

 

What is it about having The Cancer that makes people think they have some claim on your medical condition?  You know, I don’t walk up to Mildred and say, “How are you?  Is your irritable bowel still angry?” or stop Eunice on her way into the bathroom to ask her how her incontinence is going these days (ba-dump-bump), and when she says, “It’s fine” I don’t say “Are you still wearing Depends?  You know, my great Aunt Madge DIED of incontinence…or was it indigestion?”

 

All of this has me seriously considering whether or not to tell people if The Cancer ever does come back.  Really.  Like, I’m thinking it might be less drama, and less conversation if I just tell folks I’ve got some other disease.  So far, my favorite option is The Gout.  Anybody have any other suggestions?