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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The terrible, horrible, blah blah,very,very bad day

Exhibit A
Alright. We all knew this was coming. I didn't need the MGH brochure informing me "Most people feel upset after breast cancer surgery...common feelings are worry, anger and loss..."  to know i was eventually going to lose it emotionally. I'd lost it once already back in November, around the time of my initial diagnosis, the seams gradually splitting on my way to Boston to teach a writing class called "Getting all Emotional." (Yes, that was the real name of the class. You can't make this shit up)  Fortunately,  I made it through the class without crying or yelling "I HAVE BREAST CANCER!" at the ten or so innocent strangers who paid for a class  to learn about writing emotions, not to watch their instructor have an emotional breakdown. But by the time I was home in bed, I was a runny mess. I tried to wake Ben up a few times, shaking him, repeating his name, but he was in serious hibernation mode. So I gave up and somehow, eventually, comforting myself, fell asleep.

This past Sunday's breakdown could possibly have been avoided had I not decided to read up on chemotherapy Saturday night. I have a tendency to do things I know I shouldn't do, that likely won't serve me well (like reading that Atlantic anesthesia article, remember?). So i went to bed with all the possible chemo side effects swirling in my unconscious. This was on top of the fact that my mother-in-law had gone home on Saturday leaving with me with my husband (god bless the poor man) as my main caretaker. We pretty quickly butted heads over something trivial in the morning and the next thing he know I was a blubbering mess crying that I wanted my mommy. Literally. My mother died of ovarian cancer a little over ten years ago, and I can say, even when I birthed my two children, I was never filled with such mother longing as I was on Sunday. Staring at me however at that moment was not my mother, but my husband, with his own stresses and pressures and  testosterone. I continued to blubber for much of the morning and we continued to argue until I stood up and yelled "JUST SAY YOU'RE #$%#$ SORRY!" at the  man for whatever the heck he was supposed to be sorry for at that moment, and he apologized. (BTW, Did I happen to mention that losing a boob apparently can bring on your period and other hormonal nuttiness? Surprise.)

Anyway, Ben and I moved on, but I was still struggling to keep the tears in check. I even cried through Will Ferrel movies. Ben wisely decided to take the boys bowling and after they left, I had this strange compulsion to watch my sisters' wedding videos. I wanted to see my mother. I wanted to be "near" my family. So first I put in my sister Jacqui's video, which I hadn't watched since the evening of my mother's funeral. And there was my mom  alive and well and beaming in all her my-first-daughter-getting-married-to-a-nice-Jewish-boy glory. Potentially, watching this video could have swayed me either way emotionally, but as I had suspected, it made me feel better, not worse.

I saw other lost relatives too, my aunt Helen and uncle Harvey, and many of those who are, thankfully, still living but not nearby. By the amazing power of 1990's VHS converted to DVD, I was back in the womb of my sometimes dysfunctional but unique and special family. One particular highlight was my great Uncle Phil, (now gone I'm sure) but in his eighties on that day back in 1990-something, tap dancing and singing like a young man. What could be more inspirational than that, I ask you!? Except maybe this clip of me giving a very moving toast at the wedding -  I hope this provides  you, my peers, the same hope and inspiration for the future of our children and womens' hairstyles that it provided for me.

The icing on the cake of this rebound from despair was when my boys returned from the bowling alley, excited to share with me the prize they had won, my gift (exhibits A and B), also known as the lovechild of Barney and Jaws.
Exhibit B
"I pulled it out of the claw game!," J said, beaming with pride.
 I'd always told them those things were a rip off, no one ever wins. But this time J had proven me wrong, and now I have a new "adorable" sleeping buddy to help me through my darker moments.

p.s. Monday was a better day.


  1. Lose a boob, get your period? That is unjust. Where is your teal blankie of love when you need it? Right here, comin' at ya, I've dusted it off and everything, I think I saw your Mom woven into it. And thanks for sharing the video of your really really really really really really big hair. Really.

  2. I love that you dropped the F bomb so nonchalantly on your sister's wedding video. Classic.

  3. Okay, first off, stop reading things. Books, articles, pamphlets, scrolls, tracts, cereal boxes, the whole lot, just push 'em off to the side for awhile. Now is not the time for expanding your mind.

    Now is the time for:

    - Napping: Good Lord, is there anything better than napping? You are sleeping during the day. It's decadent and luxurious and slothful, and if Target was smart they'd sell a line of royalty-inspired nap wear (velvet capes, down-filled crowns, M&M-dispensing scepters, etc.).

    - Snacking: Processed foods, and lots of it. In fact, scratch that. Make it twice-processed foods. Buy a Carvel ice cream cake and dip each bite into cheese fondue before eating it. Marinate Jax in liquified bacon. Pour maple syrup on Fundip.

    And when someone tells you, probably while you are in the midst of finishing off an extra large crab rangoon smoothie from Long John Silvers, that you're going to make yourself sick, remind them that you already are sick and then cackle with great abandon like a kid whose brother just farted during mass.

    - Watching TV: Celebrity Pool Cue Fights; America's Next Top America's Next Top Model Host; Bumanza (a reboot of the classic Bonanza series that asks the question, what if the Ponderosa had been a flop house populated solely by Western vagrants?); Boat Show Confidential; and Carny Wilson (a PBS documentary series that traces the tragic fall of Woodrow Wilson from President to carnival lowlife). These are all shows that are airing on television. Right now.

    They're not going to watch themselves.

    The other less indulgent aspects of life can wait (except, of course, for grease fires; sooner rather than later is the best course of action for those).

    P.S. Did you spend time during the early '90s singing in malls in New Jersey?