Searching

One of the fun things about WordPress is that it tracks all sorts of interesting stats about blog traffic.  Among this information is a list of terms that have been typed into search engines that have resulted in hits to this blog.  Some of them are not surprising, and some are just plain odd. 

For instance, recently, someone came here after searching for “food for a good attitude”.  I’m not really sure what they were looking for, but one possibility is that they were researching foods that cause one to have a good attitude.  I know what gives me a good attitude:  coffee.  I also know what gives me a bad attitude: lack of coffee.  Pretty simple.  Other food items that give me good attitude are Godiva key lime truffles, bacon, mayonnaise, and Square Donuts.  Foods that give me a bad attitude are Hamburger Helper, beets, and diet salad dressing.  Or perhaps, the searcher was looking into methods of positive reinforcement involving rewarding good attitudes with food.  While I am highly motivated by food, I’m thinking it might be a dangerous proposition to try to withhold my coffee—especially if I’m already in a bad mood to begin with.  I’m pretty sure that would be counter-productive, and might even result in an episode of Rescue 911.

Another person got here by searching for “pic of a foob being giving out to people”.  I’m not sure that I understand what that means, but I’m picturing some sort of disaster response team handing out cases of bottled water and foobs to tsunami victims.  Maybe that’s where The Foob is—he’s decided to go on a mission trip.  Okay, probably not.

There was a search for “Dr Birhiray”.  No great shock there.  But it does make you wonder if that was Dr B googling himself to see if anybody was writing about him.  If so, I’m sure he was pleased to see all the nice things I’ve said about him, and the fact that I’ve never written about him turning into The Hulk like Dr Haerr. 

Finally, there was a search for “bald head sweating from cancer”.  I know all about having a bald head, sweating, and cancer, not to mention the three of those together.  In fact, I spent last summer completing an extensive research project on the topic of bald, sweaty, cancerness.  This was a total-immersion experience, where I actually lived as a bald, sweaty cancer girl for several months.  Amazing, I know.  But it’s really the only way to get a truly authentic experience. During this time, I became fluent in cancer-speak, with a special emphasis on the breast cancer dialect.  I also learned the ins and outs of cancer culture.  I hope to apply this experience in my work as an ambassador on behalf of the Cancer-American community.

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You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

The last few days, the folks at the Radiation Shack have been running behind . The extended time in the waiting room has been sapping my will to live. If gnawing my arm off would’ve gotten me away from the blaring soap operas, I’d have done it. In fact, I was half-tempted to start gnawing just to take my mind off of the assault on my senses. One day I was there 1-1/2 hours…only about 20 minutes of which did I get to spend in the sanctuary of the treatment area. Yesterday, I was lamenting all of this to Kelly, one of the therapists. She commented that the TV has been on the same channel ever since she’s been there. People, she’s been there for 5 years! I’m thinkin’ “Good grief! Even back in the day when we had to use carefully sculpted aluminum foil on the rabbit ears, we still managed to get at LEAST two channels!”

Why in the world would that TV have been on the same channel for five years straight? Well, I have a theory. The TV has a sign taped to the front, over the control buttons that says, “If you want the channel changed, ask the receptionist.” My theory is that this is because about 5 years and 1 day ago…the day before Kelly started working there…there was a big throw down in the waiting room over the channel selection. Coincidentally, the normally mild-mannered Dr Haerr had just completed an experiment gone awry, in which he’d caused himself to turn green, become muscle-bound, and bust out of his clothes whenever he became angry. When Dr Haerr saw Mildred and Ruby beatin’ the tar out of each other, and tearing up the joint in the process, he lost his cool. Needless to say, this made a lasting impression on everyone involved. Everyone, that is, except Dr Haerr, who curiously has no memory of it.

In the interest of harmony, the receptionist decided to switch the TV to Channel 10—which neither Ruby, nor Mildred wanted—and put up the aforementioned sign. Other folks could request that the channel be changed, but everyone was so freaked out by the whole episode, that no one ever has.

Fast forward to yesterday…I’m crying to Kelly about being oppressed by the soap operas. She comments that she just might have an idea of what to do about that. As I’m leaving, I give her a card with my blog info on it. Today I come in, and lo’ and behold—it’s the Food Network! Woo hoo! Somehow, the room seems lighter, happier. Somehow, I don’t mind the time I have to wait. When they call my name I’m like, “Already? Dang it! Emeril’s right in the middle of Chicken Spinach Lasagna.”

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the change, either. Even the woman that Mini Me and I have nicknamed The Crabby Lady for her constant negative commentary was happier, in her own crabby way, and said, “I hate this place! At least they don’t have those stupid soap operas on today—I hate soap operas…”

Thanks Kelly—you rock!

We can only hope Dr Haerr prefers the Food Network, too.

A Gift for Us All

This blog entry is brought to you by Radioactive…the new fragrance by Juicy Faux-ture featuring the alluring scent of BO and Band-Aids, accompanied by a hint of Sharpie. Be unique, be pungent, be Radioactive!

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I got the best birthday present EVER on Monday when Dr Haerr told me that I can indeed wear deodorant. Woo hoo! Now you’re probably wondering why the rules changed all of a sudden. Well, it’s like this: I was funky, so when I saw Dr H on Monday I said, “We need to talk about this no deodorant thing—not only for my sake, but also for the sake of my friends and family.” After examining my skin he said, “You can wear deodorant for now. But when you get further along, and your skin gets irritated, you won’t want to wear it.” I said, “So, it doesn’t have any effect on the actual radiation process?” (I’ve read all manner of things—mostly online, of course—talking about the aluminum in deodorant messing up the radiation.) To which he replied, “No, not at all.”

Well, I’ll be! That was WAY easier than I thought it would be. I was still doing the happy dance when I went to radiation on Tuesday, and I triumphantly announced to the radiation therapists, “Dr Haerr said I can wear deodorant!” They were surprised. “He told you could wear deodorant?” they asked. Apparently, no one ever goes back and asks after the fact. They just trudge along the radiation pathway, their own putrid stench strapped to them like an inescapable BO-steeped backpack. Not me, Buddy! I always try to get special treatment. Sometimes it even works for me. (Now if I could just get rid of this Band-Aid scented cream that I’m required to apply several times daily.)

How sad is it that the best birthday present is permission to wear deodorant? It only serves to illustrate once again how bizarre my life has become over the past 10 months. This time last year, if the Hubster had told me, “Instead of going out to dinner, I thought I’d let you wear deodorant for your birthday. What do you think?” I’m pretty sure I would not have considered that to be such a wonderful gift. In fact, I think I might have had to go all ninja on him. Fast forward to now, when not only am I excited about my sweet smelling pits, but also thrilled beyond measure to have over an inch of hair (on my head—not the pits), and euphoric over my ability to taste. Even though this normal isn’t really my old normal, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is, nonetheless, very good. Or at least I appreciate it more.

Culture Shock

As you know, I’ve had all of my treatments and surgeries in Indy up until now. Further, I’ve primarily been cared for in places that cater to breast cancer patients. The offices are decorated in soothing, tasteful colors and usually have a lot of windows to let in plenty of cheerful sunshine. If there’s a TV it’s tuned in to the Food Network or Martha Stewart. The clientele, while mostly older than me, are usually still in pretty good shape.

Contrast this to the small local cancer center where on Tuesday I had my first appointment with Dr Haerr. The waiting area is a big, dimly lit room, decorated in burgundy, hunter green and navy. We’d been there about 2 minutes when Hubster’s cell phone rang—it was 1994 wanting its color scheme back. The perimeter of the room was flanked with sofas, on which those of us not in wheel chairs sat. A TV blared soap operas, and there was a table with a jigsaw puzzle in process on it. The whole place just screamed to me, “You young whippersnappers with your fancy leopard print mastectomy bras think you’re special because you can breathe without an oxygen tank, do ya? There’ll be no daylight shining into this place, Missy! Now sit down and wait for death like the rest of us.” I said to Hubster, “This place reminds me of a funeral home.” He agreed and described it later as “all dark and couchy.”

The people that work there were all very nice. It was amusing to me that they felt the need to assure me that my treatments wouldn’t make me radioactive. Do people really worry about that? I was disappointed to find out that radiation will not give me the super powers I’d hoped to gain, however. The high price of gas was making super hero style flight look really good. I did learn a couple of things, though. First, I am not allowed to wear deodorant on that side for the entire 6 weeks of treatment. The nurse said that the sweat glands won’t be working anyway—and y’all had better hope she’s right. If that weren’t gross enough, she also said I can’t shave on that side. It’s like the Pit Hog came out and saw his shadow, so there will be six weeks of funky, hairiness. Ick. The nurse claims that the hair will cease to grow as a result of the radiation. I really hope so, or I may have to adopt a French accent and pretend I’m an exchange student.

I go back on Thursday and Friday to do my simulation. That’s where they figure out exactly where they are zapping you, and mark your body accordingly. I’ll be starting actual treatments on Monday. Dr Haerr—who I like a lot, by the way—said we can probably cram all my treatments in before Christmas, since that was my goal. Woo hoo!

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foob

My prosthesis has a name. I call it my Foob. Short for Fake Boob. As you can see from the picture, it bears a striking resemblance to its Cabbage Patch cousins. The Foob is not silicone—I haven’t graduated to that yet—it’s more like a dense pillow with a bean bag or something in the very middle to give it some weight. It does a good job of filling out my clothes, but I’ll be glad to have reconstruction so that I have something up there that’s actually attached to me instead of riding around in its own little side car.