Monday, September 5, 2011

Shit List #3: Celebrities Who Look Like Hobos

You see, I know what it's like.  You forgot to get granola bars (or, if you're a celebrity...like, wheat grass or lemon for your cleanse).  You think: Ralph's is just down the street; I could just throw on some sweats and no one would notice.  I can see that.  So, when I see a lone photo of Cameron Diaz in gauchos and Uggs in the Fashion Police segment, I feel bad because she probably just wanted some gluten-free carb-lite pasta.
The celebrities who CHOOSE to go out and pose looking like hobos, however, are a totally different situation.  
One of the biggest offenders is Brad Pitt.  He goes out in his dread-locked beard, baggy clothes and beanies and what are we supposed to think?  That you're SO famous that somehow you don't even have to try and look good?  You're just rubbing it in everyone's face!  
Another fashion perp is Mary Kate Olson, who is indistinguishable from a bag lady whenever she is out and about.  I've seen her wearing like twelve scarves and three belts at a time--something I used to see a lot--IN PSYCHIATRIC 72-HOUR LOCK-UP.  If I have to brush my hair every day to go out in public, so do you Mary Kate!
Finally, Rob Pattison needs to shave.  I realize that maybe he's publicity-shy and probably swarmed by teen girls (and 50 year-old women) everywhere he goes but the jig is up, R-Patz!  They know what you look like now.  So take a long hot shower, shave your patchy beard, and remove the bird's nest from your head.  If you want a disguise, here's some advice that always works for me: Mustache-Glasses.  Works every time.
Maybe I need to stop reading so much Us Weekly.  Especially considering that the "Fashion Police" segment is also on my shit list.  Seriously, how do those people have writing jobs?  Anyhoo, hobo celebrities.  On my shit list.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shit List #2

Next on my list: People who honk in tunnels.  Now this, I admit, was brought more clearly to my attention by living in Monterey.  However, it applies to anyone who honks in a tunnel for fun, ESPECIALLY if that tunnel is within a mile of any residential area.
I have been living in Monterey for over 3 years now and I have to take a tunnel almost every day.  Let me tell you something: I can count on ONE hand the number of times I have gone through that tunnel without one person honking.  I joke with my husband that we should have a worker injury-like sign above the tunnel that says "Lighthouse Tunnel: Asshole-Free Since___."  And then we would just have to write in NEVER because there's always someone honking.  It doesn't matter what time of day it is either.  It could be 11 at night and these jerk-offs would be laying on their horn.
So, here's my message to people who honk in tunnels-- GROW THE F&^%K UP.  It's fine to have superstitions like holding your breath while driving past graveyards or knocking on your dashboard when you see a police car.  You know why?  Because those things don't annoy EVERYONE around you and depreciate property value for poor deafened families who will go through their lives with some kind of special tinnitus from honking assholes!  Think about someone other than yourself for once and find a way to have fun that DOESN'T hurt and irritate everyone around you.
This is your warning, honkers.  You are on my shit list.

You've Just Made the LIST


Alright--seeing as how I've got an unusual amount of rage roiling inside of me, and I'm supposed to be all "at peace" to keep the cancer away, I need to let off some steam.  So until the world changes, OR until I care less that the world will never change, I am temporarily dedicating my blog to this--my shit list.
The first violators, while not technically human, are just as maddening.  I guess I should clarify, too, that my beef is with ROGUE ants.  I mean, I saw A Bug's Life and Pixar can sure make any creature seem adorable, but those ants were marching in their little ant trail trying to bring back crumbs for their families.  I GET that.  These ants (the ones in my apartment) are just assholes.  
I open up a box of cereal and pour it into the bowl?  ANTS.  In the frikkin' box.  NOT bringing food back to any colony but just crawling around enjoying their destruction of my food.  Maybe they are in a hedonistic ant colony!  Maybe they praise some Ant Bacchus or Hedonism Bot--anything is possible!
Okay I'm going to tell you something now.  It's a horrible story but, like many trauma victims, I am hoping talking about it helps.  Alright.  So I go into the kitchen to get some of my (ex) favorite snack, Trader Joe's dark chocolate mints.  The bag is open but folded shut.  I reach in and grab a handful, putting them in my mouth.  Now, you would think that the movement would be the first thing I noticed but it wasn't.  It was the taste.  Instead of mints, it tasted like I was sucking on graveyard dirt.  Then I looked down.  Writhing in my bag of mints were DOZENS of ants.  Without missing a beat, I spit out all the mints....but there were STILL SOME ANTS IN MY MOUTH.
Long story short, after gargling for nearly an hour with scalding hot water and screaming at the ants that I would kill them and their families, the ants were gone.  The memory, however, is destined to remain forever.  
So, ants, you are now on my shit list.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Donate THIS (grabs crotch region): An open letter to the ACLU

from life123.com
                           
Dear ACLU,
I say this as a valued donor: LEAVE ME THE F&*%$ ALONE.  I donated money to you for many reasons.  One of the reasons was that I actually DID have a minute after wandering out of Trader Joe's one day.  The other is that I care a lot about civil liberties.  Yet another is that any organization the hard-right GOP attacks as "communist" usually has my vote.  You had all those things going for you, ACLU!  I would have gladly donated money when I had some to spare off and on forever had you NOT STARTED STALKING ME!
For the last month, one to THREE times a day I have been receiving calls from the ACLU.  They call me during work, during dinner, on weekends and when I am enjoying a good US Weekly if you know what I mean.  I told them I did not have enough to donate.  I called today and asked to be taken off the list.  You know what they did?  They CALLED 45 MINUTES LATER.  AGAIN.
So, listen up ACLU and please hear me: I AM BREAKING UP WITH YOU.  I am NEVER donating to you again.  I'm not going to even use my awesome Twinkies break-up line on you because you don't deserve it.  It's not me.  It's YOU.
You see, the correct response when someone donates money to charity is to say "thanks."  OR to say nothing; I don't care!  I don't donate money to keep your phone operators happy.  I donate money because kids in Alabama still aren't allowed to go to their prom if they're gay.  I'm not a prom person--I was never into the prom.  But kids should be allowed to go to their frikkin' prom if they want to.  If gay kids aren't allowed to go to the prom, then Charlie Sheen shouldn't be allowed to exist.  Put that specious reasoning in your pipe and smoke it, ACLU because I totally agreed with you!  I want to change the world in any little way I can.  
But I am a recently credentialed educator who is afraid to take a teaching job because the stress might bring her cancer back.  That's right.  This is who you are harassing.  An underemployed teacher with cancer.  STILL WANT TO TAKE MY MONEY?!  WELL, I DON'T HAVE IT BECAUSE I'M SPENDING IT ON NETFLIX AND STAYING ALIVE...AND TRUST ME NETFLIX IS A BIG PART OF THAT!
So, to reiterate: never call me again as you have lost your donor.  I am officially with the HRC, as they gave me a sticker, said thank you and only sent me a letter once a year asking for more money like a frikkin' NORMAL charity.
Peace OUT.
--Kate

Into the Sunset

Okay, so it's been a while since I have written a blog.  There are a few reasons for that.  One is that I spent a good portion of the past month on my honeymoon, moving and starting work.  The real reason, however, is that I'm not sure how much I want my focus to be on a disease (even on kicking its butt) that I'm trying to move past.  
I can't call myself cancer-free for at least a five years and even then it's something I will always have to live with.  I can, however, try and focus on my life as opposed to just cancer.  I have been trying to come up with a way to make this blog evolve into something beyond just fighting cancer.  The only way I can think to do that besides quitting altogether or speeding up time is to open up my focus.  Hence the change in name.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Honeymoon Blogs Volume 1: Kauai Bitchessssssss!


Aloha from Kauai! Hopefully these posts won't have anything to do with cancer at all (although I'm happy to report that I am healing fast!) but just an account of honeymoon awesomness.
We're now in Day 3 of our trip and we've already visited Lihue, looked around our local Poipu, hiked around Waimea Canyon,  explored some caves and taken a dip in the ocean!  
Our location is excellent for many reasons.  First of all, everyone and their mother seems to be staying on the North Shore this summer so our South Shore condo feels accessible yet private.  The native species here (especially the trees) are unbelievable.  Last night I was tired and a little drunk and I swore I saw one of the forest spirits from Princess Mononoke.  It rattled and everything!  Well I guess that's what a day in the sun and a few Mai Tais will do to you.
Our trip to Waimea Canyon was awesome.  Allegedy, Mark Twain called it the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" but I'm pretty sure he never visited Kauai so who knows.  It seems to be the tagline around here, though.  I get it.  I mean, if people want to say that Mark Twain says I'm the Aphrodite of Pacific Grove I'm okay with that.  That said, however, the Waimea Canyon certainly gives the Grand Canyon a run for its money.  We hiked a bit, but I fear I held my more adventurous husband back a bit when we started on a trail alongside the Napali coast and I had to turn back.  I couldn't help it, though.  I know how lame I am, and just how many flavors of injury I would have endured on the beautiful but uneven trail.
One of the best things so far to come our of our trip has been an incredible game Ben invented called "WAVE IN THE FACE!"  We briefly considered calling it "WAVE IN THE NUTS!" but with my lack of nuts, we stuck to the former.  Basically, the game is sitting in the tidal break zone on the beach and waiting for waves to hit you in the face.  It was particularly amusing for Ben, who likes the strange "drowning in a burrito" noises I make while falling down.  hey, if you're going to be clumsy, make it a good show for people, right?
Well, that's all for now.  I will update soon.  Aloha!







Saturday, July 2, 2011

BOOB CAKE!

Boob Cake!
This glorious boob-shaped cake, made for me by Susan Gilbert Hardy, was a red velvety ray of sunshine in my days after radiation.  As the doctor warned me, I have experienced a bit of a "let down" after treatment.  They say this is because some people no longer feel they are proactively fighting the disease and are in more of a "wait and see" phase.  I've got my cancer-blocking pills so I think I'll be fine but it was a little strange letting go of something (however difficult, pain-causing and inconvenient) that had become a big part of my life.
Fortunately, that temporary hole in my heart was filled.  By boob cake.  Here's hoping my ennui will be satiated for good by the cake, as well as the 3+ lbs. of pineapple I've consumed in the last few days.  If not, Susan may need to make me another cake.  I feel a sniffle coming on ;)

Ode to a Shaved Armpit



The long weeks pass and my heart fills up with joy
as I remember what this deadline brings to me
I lift my arm up to the sky; my razor I deploy
No longer will they see my dreadlock'd pit and flee!
 'Tis been months; I'm tired and burned
I endure yet I cannot ignore this blight
One armpit smooth, the other one hirsute
Throughout this madness I have yearned
for my poor axilla to be spared this plight
Time to give this nappy hair the boot!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hawaii: Here we come!

Honeymoon approacheth!  Among the many awesome things about going on a vacation to Hawaii, one important thing I've decided to focus on is that I can finally listen to Hawaiian music without feeling angry.  When I was a bookslave at B&N, IZ was on our in-store play and, while others found the music relaxing, I found myself enraged.

"Oooooohh-OOOHHHH, callllm down Kate..."
"Stop telling me to calm down, music!" I would scream.  "I'm working!"
"But, Kaaaaaaate," the music would croon.  "Relaaaxxx...pau hana..."
"NO, music!  It is NOT 'pau hana.'  It's DURING...hana.  I need to inventory all these books and--"
"Aw, c'mon Kate.  Time for a frappucino/nancy drew break."

And then I would be completely zoned out.  Much like Reggae music (except that I actively HATE Reggae), Hawaiian music is telling me to "relax" at times when I can't!  Like when I'm working, or when I only have a half hour to shop at Target and I walk by one of those CD sample stands.  It just completely disrupts my productivity.
It also causes awkward situations.  For example, I had been explaining to my dear friend K-Mo how overly relaxing and work-inappropriate the Hawaiian CD was while on a break at B&N and she loudly (as is her nature) responded that it was awful--meaning awful to WORK to.  Of course, due to K-Mo's powerful carrying voice and being a magnet for awkward situations, a Pacific Islander woman was standing a few aisles away and pounced on us, saying that we were attacking her culture.  I tried to explain and even did a little skit with the PDT pretending to be swept away by the music but it was too late.  We had somehow been racially insensitive and there was nothing to do but crawl off to Tandoori Oven with our proverbial tail between our legs.
But now I will actually be relaxed!  I will be sipping Mai Thais at a beach cafe working on my sequel to Leviathan, CA (that's right--it's in the works!) or on a new short story for Suspense Magazine.  Oh yeah, and Ben will be there too ;) (I love you, Ben!)  Yay for relaxing and yay for honeymoon!!!

Freeeedooooooom!

As many of you could see on my Facebook profile, I am free at last!  I had my last radiation treatment yesterday and can now look forward to semi-frequent follow-ups...which doesn't sound awesome but it is!  The last day of radiation was actually kind of amazing.  They hung a "congratulations" banner and let me ring a bell!  I even got some applause.  Maybe I have some Stockholm Syndrome but I'm actually going to miss the nurses, valet guys and radiation techs.
I've been a little burned, tired, and crunchy of late so I apologize for my blog laziness.  More to come :) 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Burning Bras: It's not just for radical feminists anymore

So I've been given some very special doctor's orders--"go bra-less."  I asked them how I would be received in public with my small but noticeable breasts and their own personal weather system.  They gave me some good advice: "Who cares?"  So next time you see a bra-less girl, don't judge her.  She could  be a slut, or Sue Ellen Mischke.  Or she could have cancer.  Are you really willing to take that risk?
                                                                  Bra-less and proud!
                                                                                        Kate

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stop Torturing Me, Google Images!


As many of you know, I am now in my sixth week of radiation.  The home stretch.  The good news is I have less than 2 weeks left.  The bad news is those cumulative side effects they mentioned are definitely rearing their ugly heads.  Not only am I exhausted, but I've got some strange burns that resemble what might happen if I went to Raging Waters (there's some kind of hole in the ozone right above Raging Waters--you all know it) for the day and put 100 spf sunblock on EVERY part of my body but one. 

So, because I seek the council of Dr. Internet from time to time--just to make sure this is all normal--I look up "radiation treatment burns" on Google images.  And then I am bombarded with scary images!  If Google images is telling the truth, I will soon look like I've been stuck at Raging Waters covered in nuclear waste for 12 DAYS IN THE SUN.  Noooooo!

Then I remember the time I looked up "red bump under arm" in Google images to see if this thing I had was normal and it came up with a barrage of images of genital and rectal warts (note to audience--if you're ever thinking of casually looking up "ass warts" on Google images to see what comes up--DON'T).  They only show the most horrific disgusting pictures.  So, if you look up "melanoma" you will NOT simply see a weird-looking mole.  You will see triple necrotising fasciitis of the face.  Looking up a slightly infected cut?  Quadruple staph-infected necrotising fasciitis.  Possibly of the groin.
If you don't believe me, read this public service announcement:
.............
Did you know that up to 83% of people who attempted to search for a Google image of something they found on their butt will either have a massive coronary from shock or spend up to $1000 in unnecessary medical bills?  True story.
You may be home one night, in front of your laptop, glass of Pinot Grigio in one hand thinking: "I wonder who else has this funky skin discoloration?"  You might even feel curious enough to type "funky skin discoloration" into a Google images search box.  What harm could it possibly do?
Well, I'm here to tell you--there are CONSEQUENCES to your image search.  
Don't Google that thing on your butt.




The more you know (doo doo DOO DOOOOOO!)

WHERE ARE MY SUPERPOWERS (Angrily pounds fists)?!

Kurt Wagner (Earth-616)
 from marvel.wikia.com 

Seriously, guys.  I've got the burns.  I saw X-Men first class.  So when do I get to go out and kill Nazis with my mind?  Because you know what, guys?  Nazis suck.  They really do.  The least this stupid cancer could do is give me some telekiaportawhatever ability so I could make like a mutant Garfield and move all remaining Nazis to Abu Dhabi in boxes with holes in it.  No, wait.  No holes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"The army wants ME?!" My email reply to the US army...

"THERE'S WEAK. THEN THERE'S KATE WEAK."

Dear "Army,"
I received your kind recruitment email and I'm extremely flattered. I must say, you DO have a lot to offer. $20,000 PLUS a paycheck every month?! That's crazy talk! And those perks sound great--I mean, shopping discounts? You really know how to entice a girl! I was also impressed by the full range medical and dental coverage offered

I think I have to be honest with you, though. 

With me as one of your "active duty officers," get ready to pay through the NOSE on that medical. I'll need an asthma specialist and physical therapy for my patella subluxation syndrome. Oh yeah, and some therapy. I'll definitely need some of that. Also, I can't serve in any place with bright sun, because bright sun causes these super extreme migraines. That's okay, right? 

Hmmm...let's see, what else? 

I can't really be in "stressful" situations because I have this ulcer and they say stress caused it. Oh, and is it possible to be stationed someplace without any moist air OR dry air? And without any pollen? Because my allergies could REALLY be awkward in a battle-type situation. Sneezing isn't exactly "stealth," is it? Also, it's been said that I may not be the most graceful person. I tend to trip a lot, break things (weapons probably wouldn't be an exception), spill things...you get the idea.

Well, I think that's it.

Oh, wait! Also, I have this sort of tourettes hearing, and I tend to hear things really wrong. So, if someone says "fire," I could POSSIBLY think they're saying something completely different, like "Clint Eastwood is sexy." At that point, I would probably turn and say "What are you TALKING about; he's all leathery!" And then we'd be dead. 
So, this is all just FYI. I wish I could tell you I was joking about any of this but I'm actually not. I might be one of the most ridiculous people ever. Think less USO-show Bob Hope and more 'Hot Lips Barton" Bob Hope. 

You still want me? 

Fondly,
Kate 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Everybody Sucks: an ABC Adventure (Update #3)

Felice Fashionista makes fun of your clothes.
She thinks your new sweater from Target just blows.
Every dress that she owns is original Gucci
but you’re fine with your look and, besides, she’s a hoochie.


ALL TEXT: COPYRIGHT KATE ALESSANDRI 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm here, I hate chatting, get used to it!

From olddollpatterns.com

I can't take it anymore, guys.  I can't sit here and pretend that I like chatting anymore.  Don't get me wrong--I like TALKING.  Like, about stuff.  With friends and loved ones.
But I estimate that I waste approximately 40 minutes each day being held hostage in chatting scenarios.  Scenarios where the sheer volume of chatting could be limited to simply saying hello but turns into:
Me: "Hi!"
Them: "Hi, how are you?"
Me: "Fine, thanks, and you?"
Them: "Well, you know I'm okay except for this [problem].  [Problem problem problem!]"
Me: "That sucks."
Them: "Well, you have no idea!  [Problem problem problem.]  But you know what they say...[insert cliche about life here].  So I'm doing fine.
Me: "Well, that's great.  See you la..."
Them: "Because, you see [repeats problem a third time] is not a good situation to be in.  Have you ever had [problem]?"
Me: "No" (backing away in the hopes that this will signal my need to get back to what I was doing)
Them: "Well, I hope you never have [problem problem problem!] because let me tell you, it's not fun.
Me: "Okay"
Them: "It's not fun."
Me: "I got it."
Them: "You know, when you [prob--"
Me: "I'm sorry, I have to go; my brain has exploded and my ear canals are quickly filling with blood."
Them: "Oh, okay.  Well, let's chat later!"
And then like 8 minutes have passed!
I don't know about the rest of people out there, but I like to do my WORK at WORK and my CHATTING drunk at bars so that I can keep up the CHATTING!  
Am I alone in thinking that economy of words is a lost art?  Chatting is making me exhausted!  And I can't be exhausted because I have CANCER [see previous post #2].
Awwwkkkwarrrrd.

Top 10 Best Things about Having Cancer

Okay, so everything about having cancer sucks hard.  But here's a list of a few "bright sides..."
10-- Everyone is way nicer to you.  And they do this cool sympathetic head tilt when they ask: "How aaare you?"
9--You have a really strong motivator to get healthy--works much better than a personal trainer.
8--It doesn't seem so bad when you lose your keys.  I mean, it's still annoying, but not life-ending.
7--You go into a room and just lay down, but at the end of it people tell you how brave you are.  Just for laying down!  Well...and having invisible death rays blasted at you, but still!
6--Free valet parking!  No seriously!
5--No one judges you in oncology for reading battered old copies of Sweet valley High, and even if they did...
4--...you don't really care what people think anymore.  You've got more important things to deal with.
3--You get more prayers/kind thoughts than a bus-full of blind orphans.  Everyone's got your back.
2--You have the ability to make ANY situation totally awkward by saying "I have CANCER."
1--Three words: license to nap

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Mega-Loathe You All 2: Electric Boogaloo

copyright NBC Seinfeld 1989
I must start by apologizing that it has been so long since my last blog post.  You see, along with being very tired, I managed to forget that I had cancer.  Strangely enough, it's very easy to do if you imagine that you're getting some kind of spa laser treatment whenever you go in for radiation. I admit I'm a bit reluctant to even start again, as forcibly NOT remembering I have cancer is kind of a nice place to be, let me tell you.
Up until this past week, I have looked healthier than ever (and even this past weekend at a wedding I was able to work some magic with an under-eye concealer).  However, now that I am starting to LOOK as tired as I feel, I can totally bust out the ultimate comeback: "I have CANCER, bittcheessss!"
Of course, I haven't been given the opportunity to launch said comeback because everyone's been super-nice to me.  Much like George Costanza, I sit ready and waiting for my moment, fantasizing about my opportunity to make people feel guilty.
Scenario 1: "Sorry, officer, my CANCER necessitates me flipping illegal U's"
Every time I see a police car, I think they are going to pull me over.  Even if I am hovering around the speed limit, I believe they will find a reason.  In my comeback fantasy, the cop pulls me over and asks some condescending question like "And where are YOU going in such a hurry?" to which I can reply "Um, CANCER TREATMENT," and then even if they do write me a ticket they will feel like a total dick.
Scenario 2: "What's your secret?"
This one has totally come close to happening.  When I've run into people who don't know my situation but know me and notice that I've lost weight.  I get that look like "What the hell did YOU do to lose weight when it's so hard for everyone else?"  
--"Um, get CANCER!  It's totally the best diet plan!  In fact, I think I'm going to put out a new dieting book called 'Being told you have cancer: the ultimate appetite killer!'"
Or I'll get the old: "You're so lucky you like exercising and all those health foods!  I would be slimmer too if I liked kale!"  Guess what?  Kale ISN'T my favorite food.  Pizza is.  But they tell you you have to cut fat, eat greens and work out like Halle Berry to stave off cancer recurrance, so I do it.  Like...to LIVE. 
Scenario 3: "You're young and healthy--you wouldn't know"
This is by far the most annoying.  People who assume that youth ALWAYS equals health.  In this scenario, however, at least I can say "Actually, while I am young, I also have CANCER, bitcheeessss."  
Now, when I go to the deep water aerobics class, those older ladies won't DARE shun me!  When I tried the class before, I was shamed into quitting by dirty looks from women over 60 who looked at me like "Why do YOU need soothing water yoga?  You're young--what do you have to be stressed about?"
--"Well, I have cancer AND I am currently going through faux-menopause thanks to the pills to get rid of my cancer.  Will you let me in your class now, Edna?  WILL YOU?!!!  I take my pills three at a time JUST LIKE YOU."
Alrighty, that's all for now.  I have about eight ideas for new posts so worry not--I am back in black.
Kate out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

EXPOSED: what they don't tell you about having the knocker scourge...


Remember that time in our early 20's, when a genuine worry was that someone would find the nude picture we took of ourselves?
Okay, I don't either.  But that sounds like a hilarious and sitcom-y incident that could happen to some hip girl in her early 20's.  Little did I know that, along with the advertised adverse effects from cancer treatment, that being made an unwitting part of some kind of medical peep show was part of it.

Here's something they don't tell you when you start radiation: they give you a treatment binder in which you will likely carry around a topless picture of yourself, a fact that could have easily made me the most popular girl on the block when I dropped my binder yesterday.  I had to scramble around, clumsily snatching up the printed photos of Leela and Mulan, all the while thinking of how humiliating it would be if my house-mates (or god forbid the landlords!) found these grainy black and white pictures of boobs with my name on it. Yeah.  Survey says awkward.
And here's another thing!  When they tell you about the fatigue, the burning skin, and all those clinical effects, what they don't tell you is that the number of people who will see (and poke at) your breasts is multiplied by like 1000%.  It's like you're some kind of accidental ho. 
CANCER HO! 
Just in the last 2 days, like 6 different people have touched an area I could safely refer to as part of my "special bathing suit region."  I'm like the Jenna Jameson of cancer.  My mother kindly suggested that I start charging to cover the co-pay.  Because when life gives you breast cancer, you...make lemonade?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cancer--My own personal Rebellion, Government Conspiracy, and Battle Against Mordor


Copyright LucasFilms 1977; Fox 1994; New Line Cinemas 2001

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my mental health.  I'm sure you're thinking this is normal--a lot of people feel increased depression, anxiety, and worry after a diagnosis of cancer.  Of course this is normal.  
What I'm thinking about, however, is how GOOD my mental health has been (other than at first dx) in the past few weeks.  Sure, I've had my worries about doctor's appointments, x-rays and scans, and treatment decisions but, all in all, I've been more well-adjusted than ever.
Instead of worrying needlessly every hour of every day about getting on a plane MONTHS ahead of time, or if Ben will get in a car accident when he drives in the rain, I worry only about appropriate things...like...um, cancer.  
It is, in many ways, much easier for me to cope when I have a battle to fight and am not left to my own destructive devices.  My motto just a few months ago was: if you've got nothing to worry about, then you KNOW something's coming.  So am I a more easygoing person since getting cancer?
Of course, the fact that my tumor was caught early and my treatment will be less invasive than most makes this an easy statement to make.  I'm also not saying that cancer is, like, God's plan to make me less Woody Allenish because cancer is not given to teach a lesson.  It sucks ass, and that's that.
This all reminded me a little of what I wrote in my thinly veiled autobiographical novel, The Mean Reds.  I will have an arrogant douche moment and share it with you:

Most days (and today was no exception) I secretly wished desperately to be given something to fight for.  This may of course be due to my excessive viewing of the original Star Wars trilogy, but I was always really jealous that I wasn’t part of a rebellion.  
People in rebellions such as, I don’t know, THE rebellion, probably didn’t even remember their own birthdays.  They had too much fighting to do!  Against evil!  Sure, people died--I mean, Porkins died!  Porkins was a good, decent man and a great fighter pilot and will live on in our hearts but he’s dead now, all for the rebellion!  
I thought about Porkins a lot, and his fat face, and whether or not he had a wife and kids at home in whatever galaxy he’d resided in.  These throwaway characters sometimes had lifelines past what they are meant to in my little convoluted head.  But it didn’t stop there.  What did Porkins do when he got home from his star wars or battles?  Did he want to kick back and watch intergalactic cable because he was so tired?  I wanted to imagine Porkins approaching the door to his space hut or whatever, his Vienna sausage-like fingers outstretched towards his two children, Violet and Roland.  They would embrace him and he would give his wife a passionate kiss.  Then they would all go in for a raucous game of “Hungry, Hungry Hippos.”  Well, perhaps because it’s Star Wars it would be “Mysterious, Mysterious Mynocks.”  
I guess I over-romanticize things.  If Porkins came home from a starship battle he’d probably be like any other asshole and fall asleep immediately without talking to his wife for half a day.  I get sleep, Porkins, I get it.  But if there was some evil overlord or a dark force trying to destroy my people, would I have to find a reason to get out of bed before noon?  I think not.
                                                                                                             --"Mean Reds," 2006  

I do tend to worry about what might be, rather than what is.  This is the mark of the truly anxious person--he/she will be more frightened and overwhelmed when life is normal than when something is actually wrong.  This is truly a sad state of affairs, but the end result is that I am generally less globally depressed, less afraid of others dying on me (as my own mortality is taking that edge off), and more creatively productive.  
Instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, I am using my existing shoe to kick the ass of cancer.  In many ways, I suppose, this is awesome.

Disclaimer: God, Allah, Buddha, Odin--this is not an invitation to give cancer instead of Prozac.   

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let's Put the "Rad" Back in Radiation Therapy!

from blogs.sfweekly.com
Alright, so the time for Radiation Therapy is now.  And you probably thought we were all done talking about the cancer.  Well, think again, blog-enthusiast!
All in all, radiation seems like a much more chill treatment than chemo.  I did a walk-through today and, so far, it looks like they will be treating me better than if I went to a tanning salon, so...plus!  In fact, I'm going in to get my special boobie-mold and laser tattoos so that they can zap me right each time.  That's right, Dad, another tattoo!  HAH!
Well, I guess one could consider them tattoos.  It will most likely look like someone accidentally poked me in the boob several times with a blue ballpoint pen.  I remain confident, however, that I can still get a "heyyy, nice tat!" or two.
They even have a pretty stained glass piece of art over each radiation table made to look like the Monterey coastline so you have something nice to look at while you're all James Bond getting lasered.  How thoughtful!
Of course, being Kate, I have not failed to look up and discuss the possible negative side effects.  BUT, I have found a way to put a positive spin on each one so check it out:
FATIGUE--My doctor tells me this will almost certainly happen so I should plan on having a rest or nap-time during the day.  Um, adult nap-time--doctor's orders?!  Awesome!  Also, I can now personally justify buying another cute pair of jammies from Target as my time spent in pj's will now likely rise to 80% of the day.  Who doesn't love jammies?  Evil people, I tells ya!  Like Nazis.  Well, maybe Nazis would wear, like, swastika pajamas...but I digress.
OTHER CANCER--That's right, like most treatments, there is a slight chance you will get cancer in the other breast somewhere down the line.  HOWEVER, my doctor let me know that my radiated boob will be firmer throughout life while my other will succumb to gravity.  But if I need more radiation, that other boob will firm right up and POW!  I have the breasts of a 25 year-old when I'm sixty.  Haaahh-hah!
BEING RADIOACTIVE--Alright, that one is just my nerves talking but I  kind of imagine myself walking around with a healthy green glow like Mr. Burns.  So I'm thinking that if I end up being biohazardous, that will give me the excuse I've always needed to wear that Devo radiation suit
Fashionable, right?  I bet I could even get it in pink.
Alright, so there's my Intro to Radiation.  I'll likely be updating you all on this strange process as it goes on so get ready to see me in that Devo suit!
Kate Out.
  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Everybody Sucks: an ABC Adventure (Sneak Peek!)



Jimmy the Jerk  says that your eyes are like emeralds
He’s so smooth you can’t see that his love is ephemeral
You think: “Oh, this will be an epic romance!”
but this sleazebag just wants to get into your pants.


ALL TEXT: COPYRIGHT KATE ALESSANDRI 2011

Another bid for luck...

After having received some pretty awesome news this past week (BRCA results came back negative and probably no chemo!!) I ask you to cross your fingers for me as I have my last fate-deciding appointment before starting treatment--the second opinion.  While I'm pretty sure the good news will stand firm, keep positive thoughts for me and my long, luxurious hair ;)

Laundromats: Clean Clothes, Dirty People

from retroplanet.com
There are many ways in which the media lies to us.  Disney convinces women that a Prince Charming is around every corner. News reports air only the most sensationalized reports, leading us to believe that our life is in danger (unless you buy our sponsored products!).  The most damning lie, however, is about laundromats.   If you believe Hollywood, the laundromat is one huge network of meet-cute possibilities.  Evidently, the laundromat is a place to chat, write the great American novel, eat frogurt, and fall in love.
I must sadly tell those of you who have never been to a laundromat, or who may even be signing up for a laundromat dating service as we speak...this is simply not true.
The laundromat is quite simply a place for people who can't afford to live somewhere where they can do laundry alone.  It is truly akin to being an animal forced to do his business in a litter box while the whole world watches.  
It is a mix of twenty-to-thirty somethings, tired parents with small children, and the absolute dregs of society.  People rarely look you in the eye--even an otherwise normal person becomes guarded and socially withdrawn at the laundromat.  Even when I went to do laundry with a friend, we had to leave in order to have a real conversation as the poor lighting, screaming child and phlegm-hacking patrons weren't exactly conducive to a girls' day out.
So, why glamorize the laundromat?  Is there a secret laundromat agenda?  Are we all part of an as-yet-to-be-developed reality show about suckers who have to do their laundry in public?
I don't know about you, but even if I were single the last place I'd look for love is a laundromat.  First of all (at least for girls), you're probably wearing a tattered old laundry outfit that consists of, like, stirrup pants and a sweatshirt with dancing bears.  This is not a man-catcher.  Second of all, even though there might be a semi-attractive person at some point in the laundromat, the odds of a hobo proposing to you are MUCH higher.  And, finally, you would be essentially exposing all of your stained granny-panties, Spanx and otherwise embarrassing items to a potential mate.
Stop the lies, movies and TV!  Move on to a place where a person has a decent shot at love, like a unisex public bathroom.  That's right--I think a unisex public bathroom would be a more likely place to find a date.
Just a word to the wise...



Friday, April 29, 2011

00K8: License to Breed

from thehollywoodgossip.com

As is my impatient nature, I have already looked into all possible fertility options post-cancer.  Egg freezing, surrogacy, and adoption are all on the table if cancer treatment affects my fertility.  I have always considered the possibility of adoption after I'm in remission, as I know there are so many babies out there who need homes.  One would think a young, intelligent married couple such as Ben and myself would be great candidates for adoption.   
THINK AGAIN, CANCER-FACE! ... (is what the imaginary adoption agency would say to me)
In my research, I have found that even women who have been declared cancer-free for years are being shut out of the adoption process.  In fact, anyone who would like to adopt must be free of any life-threatening illness, have no history of cancer, have no diagnosed mental illness and be married.  Yikes.  I guess I have at least one of those.  
Let me address these one by one...
First of all, I must ask what they consider a life-threatening illness.  I mean, the flu can be life-threatening and I had that last week.  Can people who get the flu adopt?  
And what mental illnesses are we talking about?  Schizophrenia or just garden-variety depression?  Because if it's anything, then that cuts out about 75% of women--many of whom were probably diagnosed with depression because they couldn't have children. 
In that same vein, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point, so that eliminates like 12% of the population.  Don't get me wrong--I totally get why women who are still in treatment or have only a few years to live would have trouble adopting.  But 5, 10 years down the line cancer-free and a married woman still can't adopt?
Let's talk for a moment about the requirement of being married, too (mostly the case for international adoptions, like in China or Russia).  If a woman is single and makes like $100,000 a year on her own, why shouldn't she be able to support a child?  While I totally believe that 2 parents are usually better than 1...isn't one great parent better than two bad ones?
from http://www.epicponyz.com
That brings me to my main point: if this Social Darwinism can exist in public adoption, why the hell are some people out there even allowed to have children?  Is just having a decent immune system and a good set of ovaries all a person needs to deserve a child?  Shouldn't we have to pass a psych test or something?   
When I have full clearance from a physician and a reasonable assurance of longevity, am I really still not as capable of being a parent as Octomom or that couple that put their son in the weather balloon?!  I call triple shenanigans!  
No, octuple shenanigans!
  

  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everybody Sucks: an ABC Adventure (Sneak Peek!)

So, as many of you know, I've been working on my children's book: Everybody Sucks: An ABC Adventure.  I haven't done the illustrations yet, so here's a sample with help from Gaara from Naruto (pic below)
Angsty Alfredo thinks that life’s about pain
He looks down on your fun with haughty disdain
Any semblance of merriment lies totally dormant
while this Broody McMoodypants sees only his torment

ALL TEXT: COPYRIGHT KATE ALESSANDRI 2011

Hot Blooded!!

Check it and see!!

Alright, so begins my foray into breast cancer treatment with tamoxifen, the hormone therapy.  It will be a wild ride, not just for me but (I imagine) for my husband, who is taking on a role few men would sign up for.
Side effects of tamoxifen are similar to birth control (with some warning of clotting, atc.) but mostly the side effects mirror--wait for it--MENOPAUSE.
That's right, my poor husband has just married a woman who will essentially go through menopause twice (possibly thrice if I take a break to spawn in between).
It looks like I won't have chemo (huzzah!) but I will have mood swings and hot flashes.  And, oh yeah, they have to take my off my antidepressant.  Hang on in there, Kate.  It's gonna be a bumpy night!
I'm still waiting on my 2nd opinion to see if I need additional treatment, but for now it looks like this is it--keep good thoughts for me not having hot flashes...and good thoughts for Ben not having an evil menopausal shrew on his hands for the next 5 years ;)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hi, my name is Meditation. You may remember me from such techniques as "Breathing Your Way to a Million Dollars" and "Finding Yourself by Screaming a Lot"





As my recent research has told me, meditation is key when it comes to preventing cancer recurrence.  This has been suggested to me a number of times, as I am what they call a "nervous" individual.  I maintain that I burn more calories by shaking in fear, but whatever.  
For the first time, I am willing to entertain the idea in a real way, after dismissing it for my asthma and for my anxiety.  But the question is: how do you clear your mind?  I know this is a big part of meditation and it is just incredibly hard for me.  It'll go like this for me:  
"Clear your mind, clear your mind, did I lock the door?, clear your mind, did I take my medicine?, wait, why am I clearing my mind?  Oh yeah, cancer.  Clearing the mind...wait, is that a new freckle on my hand?  Is that cancer?  Dear lord, what if they all are?  What if I have constellations of cancerous freckles all over me which spell out my certain doom?!  I'm going to die I'm going to die, agghhhh!"
Yeah, not so helpful.  So, is there like a pill I can take to clear my mind (other than street drugs)?  With my anxiety pills, my asthma meds, my cancer pills and my steak-tastes-better pills, I'm sure there's one for meditation.  Perhaps "Clearonex," "Tabularasion" or "Stupomax?"
Ahh, I guess I'm on enough meds.  But if anyone has any meditation pointers, I'm open...

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Very Unmerry Unbirthday: Is My Breast Cancer a Tea Party Republican?

Alice in Wonderland --Disney 1951
Dear Cancer,
As any worry-prone, slightly masochistic person would do, I have been reading up on the possible reasons I got this monstrous "melon plague."
In every site, pretty much across the board, I see the top two contributing factors as use of birth control and not having had children by the age of 30.
Really, cancer?!
All along I've been worried that my other illnesses, my many prescription medications, or my excessive Diet Coke drinking could have brought this on.  Or maybe just some out-of-my-control gene mutation.  But, no.
Apparently, the girls from "Teen Mom" have a better shot at not getting breast cancer than I do, as they have done "what they were supposed to" with their lady-parts.
As the great Samantha said to an oncology doctor on Sex and the City: "Like it’s my fault! I shouldn't be punished for not having kids. I should be rewarded! Since when did kids become the Get Out of Cancer Free card?"
Apparently, you (cancer), along with conservative republicans, push a marriage and family incentive: get married and have a baby...OR GET CANCER...duh duh DUHHHH!
I guess you crazy cancer cells care more about the fact that I waited to find a suitable mate (and anyone who knows me will know that not only is Ben perfect for me but the only suitable mate I've ever had by a long shot), preferring the traditional pairing of two irresponsible teenagers who will be divorced within three months.
Hey, George W. Cancer, remember that time divorce was also looked down on in Christianity?  Oh, I guess I'm the only one.  Next time around (after I get back from hell for my lack of baby-making and foolish contraceptive use) I'll make sure to find a Nascar-loving d-bag and get knocked up in the back of a Volkswagen after 8th grade English.  
Alright, I'm off to drink tea and eat my leafy greens so I can avoid getting you back since it's too late to do that with a baby.


F-U Sincerely,
Kate