Friday, April 29, 2011

00K8: License to Breed


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?
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


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,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blah, blah, cancer. Let me talk about what's really important--

Two movies--totally unrelated.  Which should you watch?

Okay, so these movies have nothing in common.  I really just wanted to talk about them and you're going to listen.  Why?  Because I have cancer, that's why!
Last night in bed I was haunted by the memory of the movie Trucks, a Canadian re-make of the movie Maximum Overdrive which was BASED ON...oh yeah...a Stephen King novel.  I kept lying there in bed trying to remember the movie (which I mixed up a little in my head with the early 1970's movie Duel) and just hissing "Truuuucks...TRUUUUCCCKKS!"  
Well, I finally figured out that I watched this movie once in my October horror sweep to be pleasantly surprised at its satisfying ridiculousness.  It stars the always affable Timothy Busfield, who, along with a rag-tag group of small town citizens, tries to stop these killer trucks from destroying everything.  Almost everything that happens in this movie can be described as happening "for some reason."  This delightfully poor writing is much like dreams you have where, for some reason, you're talking to Tom Selleck and then, for some reason, you're in school doing a book report on The Red Pony (Hmmph, Red SUCKY more like!).  So, for some reason (possibly aliens, maybe a comet...possibly a toxic spill), trucks become sentient and start killing mostly everyone except Timothy Busfield (who works at the gas station for some reason) and his son.  No one can figure out why the trucks are evil, but they are remarkably difficult to circumvent and may use human blood as diesel fuel.  For some reason.  Conspiracy theories...Timothy Busfield!...TRUCKS!
But, if you're not into TRUCKS! then I'll give you the real deal: a 1983 miniseries called CHIEFS.  It is honestly the best miniseries I've ever seen--certainly on par with The Thorn Birds or Roots.  The plot: three generations of CHIEFS in a small town try to uncover a string of brutal sexually motivated homicides perpetrated by a villain with a name so ridiculous it could only have been written by Carolyn Keene.  Foxy Funderburke.  I think there was actually a character by that name in a Nancy Drew book.  Anyhoo, amidst changing times, racial tension and corruption, each CHIEF slowly figures out that Foxy Funderburke is: 1) a weird name, 2) a weird loner with a lumpy pile of hay in his yard shaped like multiple bodies, and 3) played by Keith Carradine.  I won't give anything away...but Billy Dee Williams is the best CHIEF.
So, which will it be?  TRUUUUCKKKS? Or CHIEFS?  
Unless you say: "Both!  For the love of God, BOTH!" your answer is irrelevant

No More Horror Stories Please!

Wayne's World photo from
Alright, so most of the people I have shared this with (from my fam to co-workers to random blog followers) have been nice enough to provide me with helpful "success stories" that make me feel a little more hopeful.
Well, as I mentioned in my last blog, I am going a little crazy over waiting to see whether or not I have to have chemotherapy.  This is no small deal, as 1) I would have to leave my job, 2) I probably couldn't go on my honeymoon, 3) I wouldn't be able to get a teaching job for at least the first semester of 2011, 4) I would probably become infertile, and 5) I would lose all my beautiful luxurious hair (a note to those who find a silver lining in the fact that their hair may grow back curly or a slightly different color--props to you but my hair is the best ever AS IS and I refuse to see a silver lining in losing it.  Farting silly putty?  PLATINUM lining.  Hair loss? Never.)
It is much like that Dawson's Creek theme song... you know "I don't wanna wait for our liiives to be oveeerr I want to to know right now...WILL I LOSE MY FRIKKIN' HAIR OR NOT?!"  Except that it would be about cancer and know, lots of horny verbose teens.  Man, I love Dawson' Creek.
Anyhoo, in the meantime, I have been seeing and hearing a lot of "horror stories" from well-meaning folk.  Some are about people who choose to go for chemo (B-E-aggressive!) and end up getting, like, DOUBLE cancer or get sick and die from something else.  Some are about people who opt out of chemo because of the risks and then their cancer comes back and they die...they die, like, 5 times.
So, as a general shout out, if you have any stories that are NOT like that (more along the lines of "this girl I know got cancer and then they gave her candy for treatment which she somehow lost weight by eating and she lived a hundred years the end."  You know, or just a story NOT about someone dying 12 times.  I'm open.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Borderline Results Are Giving Me Borderline Personality Disorder

Sorry for lapsing on the blog, but I've been going a bit crazy waiting for test results.  Today, I got one big piece of info--my Oncotype score (measures rate of recurrance and response to chemo).  the way it works for my kind of cancer is: you get low risk--no chemo.  High risk= chemo.  Intermediate means--you guessed it--maybe.  I am an 18 which is quite literally the cusp between low and intermediate. (Oncotype says 18 is the "on the fence" number) This means that some oncologists would consider me in the low risk group and some in the intermediate.
Seriously, WTF?!  I know I'm all "lucky" with my well-behaved low-grade tumor but this is still a coin toss and I am not a gambler.  I don't even like gambling for cheap stuffed animals.  
I take this as good news--I am not high risk--but at the same time I am pulling out my hair over this.  Perhaps if I pull all of it out I should just do chemo anyway.
This is my first unfunny post but it's an update.  I just don't really know how to take any of this.  Everyone around me is happy for me and I guess I just wish I could be happy for myself too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Side effects may include headaches, nausea, restless leg syndrome and mild death...

Dark Horse Comics 1992
Alright, call me ungrateful or whatever, but are doctors and pharmacists trying to kill me?
As many of you know, I have had a shady past with pharmacists (those of you who DO know the whole story will know this is an understatement).  You can get better service at Barnes & Noble, and the books won't kill you if they're the wrong number of pages.  Pharmacists have a hard job, and I would totally respect how hard it was if know...DID it correctly.  Or ever admitted when they made a mistake.

"I'm sorry, Miss, but you should have double checked that the writing on the pill matched the mg on the bottle."
"Um, I'm sorry.  If I knew how to discern the difference between certain milligrams by sight and not the PRINT ON THE BOTTLE, than I would be a frikkin' pharmacist!  P.S. You can suck my dick."

Well, long story short, I may have said something like that to a pharmacist once.  And not even about the cancer.  Once a pharmacist cavalierly told me that they couldn't find a prescription on file for an asthma inhaler when I had been a patient at the (unnamed for legal reasons) HMO for 20 years and diagnosed with asthma 18 years earlier.  And they act all casual.

"Sorry, we don't have that one in stock.  Would you like to place an order that will take 4-6 weeks?"
"Um, no, it is life-saving medication that I need."
"Well, we don't have it.  And I don't even see your record it Katherine?"
"No, Katryn."
"Ooohhh, well either way, good luck not breathing."
"Fuck you, lady!"
"Have a nice day!"

Not quite equally, but almost as annoying are medical receptionists.  They, much like pharmacists, have the people skills of a DMV employee and seem to wonder why you're all up in a tiff about getting in to see a doctor.  Um, because my life depends on it....bitch.  They also hold onto appointments like they're a frikkin' hostess at Nobu.

"I need to see a doctor on account of my not breathing or living extremely successfully"
"We can't get you in until next month."
"Can I get an afternoon appointment?"
"No, then you'll have to wait until July."
"Well, you see I have to get in.  Like, now.  I'm having trouble breathing and, like, staying alive."
"Hmmm, okay can you come in tomorrow?"

If that appointment was there, why didn't you give it to me to begin with?  Do you get off on withholding medical appointments from people or do you think people have nothing better to do than make frivolous appointments?  Earth to receptionists: no one really likes going to the doctor.  It's germy and humiliating, so stop acting like you're saving a table for Orlando Bloom and treat people like human beings.
My other and more recent beef is with doctors, no matter how well-intentioned, who put people on medicine without discussing the side-effects (especially since all the info I get when I ask to speak to my dullard pharmacist about a new medication and they say "Uhh, you might want to take this with food?  Or, well, whatever.")  I have been prescribed more medication than I can count without being warned of any major side effects or any kind of frank discussion about whether the benefits outweigh the negatives.  I won't bore you with the details, as there are many and I don't want to end up sounding like some lady you meet on the bus who won't shut up about her groin discomfort.
Of course, I will usually ask about side-effects when prescribed a medication, but when I got diagnosed with the boobie cancer, I was all-too willing to take any Benzo they threw at me.  And I'll admit--it did calm the nerves.  Unfortunately, when I was done with surgery and a little less inclined to cry in front of my mailman, going off the medication was a bit trickier than anticipated.  
I felt strange, like I was having a bad high and a stroke all at once.  I would yell things like "does it feel like there's any oxygen in this restaurant to you?!"  Anyway, apparently coming off of this medication it is normal to have mood swings and "stroke-like" symptoms, as well as chest pain.
I can tell you, that's doin' a LOT for me, comfort-wise.  All of a sudden, I'm facing cancer AND a long shaky rehabilitation period from the drugs that were supposed to calm me down about the cancer.
Life's just interesting, isn't it?  A nice big bowl of cherries.  Oh, wait.  Did I say cherries?  I meant addictive psych meds.
Alright, so perhaps this is all quite ungrateful to the medical staff who help save my life.  But I have cancer now so I get to complain, dammit!
How long will that hold up?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I MEGA-loathe you all: An open letter to a bunch of people I've never met

Futurama "Insane in the Mainframe" 2001
Dear Strangers,
Let me be clear.  I already had a rage problem with strangers BEFORE the cancer.  In fact, in my brief stint with a therapist this past year, I told him this:
Kate: "Well, Mr. Therapist, I often have an unreasonable hatred of strangers, leading me to want to punch them in the face."
Therapist: "Is that, um, something you want to work on?"
Kate: "Not really."
So, it's not like this is anything new.  But I frikkin' hate people.  If you are a stranger AND a total ass-hat, this could mean you.
I almost threatened two women in Safeway today for just existing.  There they were, picking out chocolate and toys for some kind of Easter gift basket.  I asked: "Are you in line?" and they proceeded to tell me that yes, they were.  They also (superfluously) added that they HAD to go before me because they were on a break from work and it was only 30 minutes.  So I stood there with my bag of turkey fuming as they dawdled for 5 minutes changing their mind about the color of the basket and which chocolate animal to include (bunny or chick?  um, how about a chocolate FIST UP YOUR ASS?!).  
Then they got the clerk involved.  They needed his advice.  Blue or yellow or yellow and pink?  I wanted to give them an additional choice--strangling or stabbing--but I stayed there with my lone bag of turkey.
As if this wasn't enough of a waste of time, they proceeded to remind me AND the clerk repeatedly that they had to hurry because they were on a 30 minute break.  Then frikkin' GET GOING!  
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of me wanting to respond to their remarks with a conversation-ending: "Yeah, we all know about your 30-minute break debacle...I have cancer--does that entitle me to get my turkey first?", they left.  I paid for my turkey and bolted out of there, still boiling with rage. 
I got in my car just as they were getting into theirs (as, of course, they needed to continue chatting about the basket color in the parking lot) and squealed out before them.  That's right.  My turkey had no bearing on their time limit.  I could have easily been out of there in 15 seconds.
This is perhaps a warning to anyone out there who feels the need to keep the cashier at Target busy talking about their bladder infection, or who walks five abreast with their friends super slowly, or who lets their child run under dressing room doors yelling "mommy, why is that lady's butt showing?"...and all the rest.  The cancer may have eliminated my moral compass.  And my rage is never taken out on friends and loved ones (because they are awesome).  You are the perfect target.  So get out of my way.

Hugs and Kisses!

"Lady, people aren't chocolates. D'you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bobble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine."
--Scrubs "My Common Enemy" 2004

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ooh La La! a Surgical Bra

As I mentioned in my "Mushu Pork and Poking Boobies" blog post, I have been slowly losing any sense of pride or modesty when it comes to checking out my own boobs in public.  
Today, however, I may have hit a low point.  
They don't tell you all the glamorous stuff about surgery in this area.  Like that you need to wear this strange velcro corset for days that looks like a reject from Jessie's wardrobe on Saved By the Bell.  That you won't have sensation in your armpit for weeks, months or maybe ever and shaving it feels like you're putting a razor to a piece of construction paper.  Or that you might have blue marks on your boob...FOREVER!  Being a person with tattoos, this doesn't bother me so much.  What does bother me is having to wait weeks for the magical band-aids (steri-strips) to come off on their own, all the while horrified about what's underneath.  So, you try to ignore the band-aids, and trim them as they start to come off.  I'm not sure what I think will be under there.  Maybe a cancer gnome?  A cancer gnome doing a happy prospector dance while laughing at me?  Anything's possible.
But, where was I?  Oh, yes.  My low moment.  It came today, before my library class.  I knew I had twenty minutes so I was peeking into my v-neck to check and see if the cancer gnome had escaped.  I was peering in there for a while...and there may have been some re-adjusting.  Okay, there was definitely re-adjusting,
Then, I hear a noise behind me.  
Oh, yes.  The class came early.  
They were all standing there, looking at me like "Why is Miss Kate rooting around in her shirt?"  They don't know about the cancer gnome.
Well, what could I do?  As gracefully and inconspicuously as I could, I wiped some invisible lint off my shoulder and pretended like it never happened.
But now I have joined the ranks of comical moments where people are in a compromising or embarrassing position and they turn around to see a group of slack-jawed children.
Who knows?  Maybe I am trapped in an 80's-to-90's coming-of-age movie about breast cancer.  It will be like...My Girl meets Karate Kid meets The Peanut-Butter Solution.  Oh, its a real triumph of the human spirit...  
So that is today's tale of shame.  Maybe now that I've had my comical embarrassing moment I can move into the montage portion of my tale.  
Everyone loves a montage!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wish Me Luck

This isn't a funny one--and I know everyone has told me I am in their thoughts--but wish me luck as my tests (Octotype dx and BRCA testing) yield their final results in the next week or so.  Really hoping for a low oncotype score (meaning low risk) and no crazy gene mutations.  Unless the mutation is making me into my future super-hero self The Teleportress of Doom (kicking ass and lecturing motorists).
So, keep your fingers crossed for me this next week!

P.S. a special thanks to Jessica, whose pestering and numerous threats have sped up my test results--we need more hard-core people like her in genetic science.

Character Epilogue for the Survivor

Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal 1983
Many people hate this device in movies, television and books.  It is the "Where are they now?" device that I have decided to call "character epilogue."  I've always liked this device myself.  If you love literature, you probably hate it.  But if you love characters, you might be like me, craving the guilty pleasure a character epilogue provides.
While most attacked J.K. Rowling for her indulgent epilogue in the final Harry Potter book, I was not-so-secretly pleased.  I like to know who lives, who becomes famous, who gets married.  If I could, I would always want to know ahead of time.  
This may be why I LOVED the poorly reviewed Sweet Valley Confidential, perhaps the most indulgent book of all time.  It not only includes the character epilogue, but does so in paragraph form for pretty much EVERY major character of the series, even those who were not featured in the book.  Did I need to know Enid Rollins turned into a right-wing asshole, or that Easy Annie from SVH #10 "Wrong Kind of Girl" was still married to that adorable Ricky Capaldo?  No.  
But, man did I lap it up.  I lapped it up like a stray cat that just found a puddle of YooHoo.
For the cancer victim or survivor, having a good character epilogue would be a nice treat.

Survived breast cancer and went on to become the author of 2 teen series and several authorized biographies on such classic yet under-appreciated actors as Edward James Olmos, Daphne Zuniga, Ron Canada, Ray Wise and Liz Vassey.  She lives today with her husband, Ben, their two children and a baby mountain goat named Sailor Moon.

That would be nice. I always want to flip ahead to see what happens at the end of a book, but in this case, unfortunately, I can't.  Of course, in this case I'd only want to know if it was good news anyway.  Perhaps I'll feel better once all of my tests come in and I know exactly what I'm in for.    
So, for now, I'm off to read old Sweet Valley High.  Oh, Jessica.  Will you ever learn?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Once, Twice, Three Times a Douchebag

Does Charlie Sheen Need Rehab...or Repo? 2011
I have been avoiding giving this "Charlie Sheen" character any of my attention, as I secretly hoped the fascination with his antics would have died down my now.  But I also hoped that the fascination with Heidi Montag would pass (after never-ending weeks of her gracing the cover of my favorite b.m. accompanyment, Us Weekly) and that never happened.
Along with my aforementioned irritation that I got cancer instead of Hitler, I am also totally over people who seem unable to live without being total douche-bags.
Their bodies are, like, MADE of booze and crack and they simply aren't quite talented enough for us to care whether or not they pull out of it (we all know Mel Gibson's true talent was in his mullet).  Sorry, Charlie Sheen, but Robert Downey Jr. you are not.
I propose that these douche-bags deserve more than to be jailed occasionally and ridiculed.  I propose that, when you are spoiled, rich, and THIS BAD AT LIFE, you need to have everything taken away from you and given to those who could actually use it.  

Enter my new non-profit, the Celebrity Douche Foundation
Once a celebrity has proven that they are no longer able to be a human being without: 
1) Getting arrested 
2) Being drunk/high 24-hours a day 
3) Having numerous prejudiced rants on record...
they will have their estate, including any investments and real estate, taken away and given to someone who actually has a sense of personal responsibility.
The Celebrity Douche Foundation (CDF), would take money from those who clearly can't live their own lives without a professional ass-wiper, and give it to those who apply for grants.  
For example, Charlie Sheen's money could be given to low-income families dealing with long-term illnesses.  His porn stars could be split among another kind of needy--nerds who are almost out of high school and haven't yet lost their virginity.  Really, CDF could provide for hundreds, even thousands!
So, if you are a person who needs help paying student loans, dealing with out-of-control medical bills or helping an ill family member, you can qualify for this unprecedented grant from CDF.  Really, even if you just work hard, can handle your shit and need a little extra cash (or a porn star or a Bengal tiger), the Celebrity Douche Foundation can help you!

*paid for by the Human Beings Against the Enabling of Total A-holes group

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stop bossing me around, inspirational signs!

Alright, I'll do it already!  I could try and tie this all in and say "ever since I found out I had cancer, I've been seeing these signs..." but that just isn't true.  They've always pissed me off and now my annoyance has just passed through the filter.  It seems in the past few years, there has been an increase in kitschy inspirational merchandise.  The signs offer simple advice, and lure people into hanging them up to remind them of the "important things in life" when, I'm sorry, do we really need a cheap dime-store reminder?
It was all fine and good when these signs stayed in their specialty shops where people who prefer to can buy and hang them wherever they please.  In Willow Glen, you would have found them at the Country Living store.
Now, they are everywhere.  They are on shirts at Old Navy, on souvenir cups at the gas station...they have even taken over my precious Target.  And it's not just signs anymore.  The cheap, simplistic inspiration is all around you!  It wants you to cherish life...and to eat your brains
Why can I no longer find a cute photo frame that doesn't have inspirational advice on it?  Or a blanket or throw pillow?
"Oooohhh, that throw pillow is so soft...wait a second...'Be Thankful for Every Day?!'  Fuck you, pillow!
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for funny signs that make you chuckle...

(really every "do not pass" sign should just say this)

But I'm tired of being told to LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE.  First of all, that's no different than saying "Pump blood through your veins, breathe oxygen and don't ignore brain chemical fluctuations."
Okay, I get it--it's telling you to remember what's important.  To live each day to its fullest.  It's a nice message and I don't begrudge those who do like to live, laugh and/or love.  I do all of those things!  
But it starts to feel like a nag.  Like if signs everywhere said "thoroughly wipe your ass!"  I mean, I already do that and the signs just make me think that someone out there thinks I'm not on top of it!  Well, SIGN INDUSTRY, let me assure you: I am alive, I laugh often, I love many, and I thoroughly wipe my ass.  Can you stop telling me to do it all the time now?
Hmmmm...the answer seems to be no.  I just went to the Target website and all I saw was "Live, Laugh, Love" posters, frames, shirts, engraved rocks and a million other things.
Wait.  They also say something else...
I see some that just say "Relax" and "Smile."
Oh, now that just tears it!  These signs are out of control!  They offer a quick fix they can't deliver.  I don't know about you guys, but looking at a sign that says "Smile" doesn't make me want to smile.  
It makes me want to punch someone in the crotch.  
I mean, now that this inanimate sign/idiot has told me to smile and relax, should I throw away my Prozac and stress ball?  Hail the sign!  Oh, wait....CROTCH PUNCH!
Perhaps this has been a bit strong and I certainly don't want to come across as anti-laughing, but nobody likes to be told what to do.  
So, [inanimate sign], I will live laugh and love and cherish every day I live through my cancer, blah, blah.  But I'll do it without your help.  And I'll do it sitting on a splintery and sawdusty pile of your remains.  
I imagine it will be quite relaxing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mushu Pork and Poking Boobies

Elaine Dance
photo from tvscoop 2007
To have shame, or to not. That is the question. 
Personally, I have none.
When your husband suggests that maybe a Chinese restaurant in view of several children isn't really the best time to check your boob for further strange blue marks, or to smell your armpits and complain loudly again about how you can't wear deodorant, you've reached a point.
Maybe I am shameless. But I need to check out my sad, bruised fun-bag and whether or not a large family is attempting to eat mushu pork isn't really my concern. 
My threshold for embarrassment and shame has now officially reached the max.  Just in case you were wondering.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where aaaaaaarrre yoooooooouuu?

...please come back to me, giant latte bars!

"Shaka, when the walls fell" : How cancer and Glenn Beck turned me into a Trekkie

That quotation totally and dorkily describes how I felt when I got my diagnosis of cancer.  Those of you who get the reference right away can either congratulate yourselves or check into a nerd-rehabilitation clinic.  My "Shaka, when the walls fell" will totally come to be "Infiltrating ductal carcinoma."  
If you don't know, it is from Star Trek: TNG.  Amazing, glorious Star Trek!  
While I love Star Trek, I've never really understood "Trekkies" until now.  I have always been a fan of various movies, musicians, and televisions shows but not a collector or reenacter.  
An extreme, but general pop-culture lover.  
In fact, I only reached total immersion once when I was about four years old.  My Mom and Dad will remember this as the "Little Orphan Annie" phase.  
I was always a worrier as a very young child--afraid to do pretty much anything because I could so clearly imagine every possible outcome.  Today, a child drawing "what their own skull might look like" and giving it to their principal on the first day of Kindergarten would be an automatic referral to kiddie psychotherapy.  I was cursed with a too-vivid imagination which came with too-vivid anxiety.
Then, I saw the movie "Annie."  Not only did Annie not bother to worry about what would come tomorrow, she actually looked forward to it!  When she sang "It's only a day awaaaayyyy!" it actually sounded hopeful and positive, whereas my view on tomorrow was more like:"Agghhh!  It's only a day away!" 
 So, for most days, I dressed up as Annie.  I drew freckles on my face and wore a little red dress.  I even claimed to be an orphan once when I got lost in a store, which freaked my dad out to all high hell.  
My point is that I was so unable to change my own life and outlook on it, that pretending to be another person seemed the only way to have a more satisfying life.  Perhaps if I was Annie, I would also be spunky, outgoing, and brave in the face of horrible tragedy.  A little early-stage larping, if you will.
Now, 28 years later, I find myself embracing Trekkie-ness (without the child porn connotations Wikipedia suggests)  A world free from the need for money and power seems pretty sweet right about now.  
When I read the news about this world, it's one piece of bad news after another...more earthquakes, government shutdown, Charlie Sheen or Glenn Beck saying something crazy, anti-semitic or stupid.  I admit, it makes me want to escape a little again, like those simple days of childhood when I thought the telescope observatory on Mount Hamilton was my orphanage.
Star Trek: the Next Generation is an easy escape.  I mean, for one, they could cure me of cancer with one hypospray.  Ummm...AWESOME!  Also, I wouldn't need to aimlessly drive around to Safeways looking for the Weight Watchers Caffe Latte bars because I could replicate them!  I could probably replicate and eat as many as I like and still be able to wear tight Deanna Troi body suits.  
Mostly, though, Star Trek shows a positive future where we don't rely on money and power, but on furthering ourselves.  It shows a possible evolution of the human character into something good, while the last several years shows a devolution of humans into Tea Party douche-bags who catastrophize the world so that people will be scared enough to follow them.  
I would choose to live in a world with scientific progress, noble battles, and nutritionally balanced food that enables me to wear tight body suits if I could.  A world without Glenn Beck?  Sigh.  If only that were possible.  
Maybe if someone invented the holodeck now...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This isn't really a post, just an unlikely suggestion for those of you out there who are still riddled with anxiety: a great "fidget" is "Flarp!" the noise-making putty toy.  
Make no mistake--it is farting silly putty.

But it may be the best thing EVER.

Tailgaters: a cancer on our society

I realize I mentioned tailgaters in my previous post, but my rage has blossomed.  I was on the road today, having just calmed down from merging madness (seriously, people, it's a ZIPPER!), when a large truck came within maybe a foot of a small car on the road, swerving this way and that.  This was all just to get to their exit about half a second sooner.
I will not mince words here.  Tailgaters, much like cancer, can suck my balls.  It is not only poor etiquette but likely the cause of about half the car accidents out there.  When people tailgate, they are reducing the likelihood of them being able to stop in time if a car brakes in front of them, risking their own life, as well as countless cars around them.  Also, it never saves more than a minute or two.  
This is why, if I had a superpower (other than maybe making people not have stupid cancer), it would be teleportation.  Sure, I'd blink my way to the Cinque Terre first but here's my REAL mission: to end tailgating everywhere.  I could, like, teleport into their cars and lecture them or, if necessary, make them suck my balls.  I would also make them watch hours on end of both 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager until, likely, they would set them self on fire.  Of course, there are a few problems with this plan.
1) Teleporting into another person's car would likely cause about 100 times more accidents
2) I would have to buy 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager on DVD.  
3) People rarely respond to being lectured by strangers who teleport into their vehicles.  Or so I imagine.
But, oh, if it could work!  I would SO lecture the hell out of them.
So, I guess for now I must be satisfied with my elaborate teleportation revenge fantasies.  Maybe if teaching doesn't work out I'll get a job at the DMV and turn into a license-revoking vigilante.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Man, why didn't Hitler have cancer?

About a million thoughts have gone through my mind in the last two weeks since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  If you are young, like myself, you may be asking yourself: "Hey, why me?"  
What has been going through my mind, however inappropriate, is "Really?!  Me and not THAT asshole?"
Like, why not Hitler?  Or the guy with the Raiders bumper sticker who recklessly cut me off?  I have looked through countless inspirational stories and calls to prayer for those who are battling this disease.  
I want to know what you're REALLY feeling.  Because I'm checking Google news to see reports of oppressive forces and true evil in the world and thinking: "Man, why can't THEY have cancer?"

Kate's Top 10 list of people who maybe could have had cancer instead of all the nice people she knows:

10: Jeffrey Dahmer (I mean, seriously.  This guy didn't get cancer?!)
9: Tailgaters (that's right, they're ahead of Jeffrey Dahmer)
8: Pol Pot
7: Tomas De Torquemada (that was one pushy Mo-fo...)
6: Countess Elizabeth Bathory 
5: Sauron (okay, fictional, but WAY evil)
4: H.H. Holmes 
3: Joseph Stalin
2: Adolf Hitler
1: The guy with the Raiders bumper sticker AND A CHILD IN THE CAR who recklessly cut me off