Friday, May 13, 2011
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.
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
|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
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!
Monday, May 2, 2011
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
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 ;)
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...