Sunday, March 31, 2013

happy easter

we interrupt this regularly scheduled post to wish you a very happy easter.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


i don't want to overstate, nor understate, the effects of daily radiation treatment.

everyone is different, everyone's radiation experience unique.

side effects like skin change and fatigue are not uncommon, largely anticipated.

the further you go along, the more these effects will reveal themselves.

they will compound.

a friend told me to 'think of it like a marathon.'


a marathon?

i've never participated in one, in any capacity, as participant or fan, though i knew what he meant.

he was talking about endurance.

this i understood.

i've never been able to relate to the concept of how such a singular pursuit like running, can generate so much support on the sidelines.

the ratio doesn't equate.

anyway, i have no doubt the fans on the sidelines are appreciated.

my young neighbor was coming back from a run the other morning, as i was heading out for radiation.

we intersected.

she told me she and her husband had decided to run the massey cancer race in my honor.

this made me cry.

 though i was in the late morning sunlight, therefore wearing my sunglasses, and she wouldn't have known, i told her anyway.

you're making me cry.

a run in my honor?

does she know who i am?

it is amazing the light that comes through.

amazing race indeed.

xx katy

Friday, March 29, 2013

hump day

i understand today was 'hump day.'

today was treatment 17.  meaning 16 to go, meaning the numbers ahead are less then the numbers behind.

i hate math.

the total = 33.

33 - 17 = 16.

16 < 17.


if a girl goes to the doctor, and the doctor says,

no more monkeys jumping on the bed,


i mean, the doctor says,

you need to come back.

so you do.

and do and do and do and do,

and dododododododododo,

xs infinity,

eventually you lose count.

you'll think you'll remember, but likely you won't.

so when finally, treatment phase comes around,

and you've been on the cancer-go-round for three seasons already,

when someone says today is hump day, you say


hump day?

and they say yes!

as though you're at a party you didn't realize was happening.

and there you are, in your hospital gown, minus the party hat.

the only noise maker is dumbo of course.

(he's always invited)

(on the ready with his radiant gifts)

hump day, in the radiation treatment world, is when the day arrives, where you've gotten to the 1/2 way point.

a celebration indeed!

but i didn't know they called it that.


now i do!

happy hump day.

hump rhymes with lump, rhymes with slump, rhymes with bump, rhymes with dump, rhymes with frump, rhymes with grump, etc...

all these words can go in the cancer picnic basket.

which i will take on my happy hump day outing.

xx katy

Thursday, March 28, 2013

sweet nothings

the thing i like most about wiseguys is they're pretty simple to track, fairly easy to read.

they are not huge on innuendo or subtlety, things are pretty straightforward, largely black and white.

even though they rarely miss a beat.

they have the instincts of bengal tigers.

this simplicity combined with superb readiness is a very practical combo.

wiseguys.  knuckleheads.  thugs.  clods.

they are kind of the same, but not really.

the ones i know don't like to waste much time.  they are constantly moving, even when they are sitting perfectly still.

have you ever seen a godfather sitting on a sofa, eyes gazing off at something in the middle distance, hands in prayer formation, index fingers tapping?

i have.

sometimes you want to know what they're thinking, sometimes you don't.

try to get them to engage in role playing though, or imagination, and i say good luck.

way back, when i thought i had an idea of what romance was, or should be, i actually asked the godfather, how come you never whisper sweet nothings in my ear?

 he said what?

 i said sweet nothings?  how come you don't whisper them in my ear?

and he leaned right over, put those thick familiar lips to the edge of my ear, and began whispering the word nothing, over and over.

nothing.  nothing.  nothing.

is what he actually whispered.


 that's the godfather for you.

over the years he's always whispered super simple stuff.

mostly it's been this word.


happy. happy. happy.

i love you godfather for this.

this simple, no bs, gung ho attitude has gotten me out of more than a few foxholes.

it has definitely gotten me through the daily grind of radiation.

always the sunny side.

happy. happy. happy.

even though he gets the real.

and the hard. and the not happy parts too.

it's helped me focus on the end game.  one down.  two down.  three down.  

we have sixteen down now.

17 more to go.

xx katy

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


woman looking through magnifying glass

our oldest daughter is in a graduate program for art direction in advertising.

it is an excellent, though grueling program.

everything is scrutinized.

every. little. thing.

not much gets past her 'finely tuned' senses.

so when she told me, 

'don't take this the wrong way, but you don't look like you have cancer', i wasn't offended.

i knew what she meant.

i said is it because i have hair?

and she said yes.  i think that's part of it.

i said and?

bc there's always an and is there not?

she said well.

i see you still being you.  doing your regular stuff.

still being the same.

this was a real hallelujah moment for me.

you have no idea.

that was the very idea after all.

in the very beginning of all this cancer bs, i thought oh.

i don't want our girls to be scared.

i'm MAMA.



does this mean i'm not human?


if you get cancer, or are dealing with it now, i believe there is reason to be hopeful.

there are ways to hold onto yourself.

even if you're tired.


newly scarred.

newly tattoed.

newly yourself.

you are still you.


your very own art director student adult children can see it.

if they couldn't, trust me, they'd tell you.

they are the captains of their very own scrutiny ships.

scrutiny rhymes with mutiny.

mutiny means open rebellion against authority.

depending on the rebellion, i have no particular issue with that.

i don't look sick?

i'll take it.

many minutes of many hours, i don't feel sick either.

mostly i have to be reminded.

and still though,

it can be hard to believe.

xx katy

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

human factor

these days, when something breaks, we can usually tell.

our cars tell us 'service such and such.'

thank you car computer.

our computers tell us

'update such and such.'

thank you apple.

our phones give us status updates, re updates, etc. etc.

my coffee machine broke yesterday.

no notice.

thank you coveted coffee maker.

thanks a mil.

the guy who fixes our coffee machine also installed it, along w/our oven and fridge, and dishwashers.

he's excellent at that stuff, his name is ray.

he's also a singer in a band, has a super smooth voice.

somehow over the years, when ray and i talk on the phone, we've fallen into a kind of goodfellas exchange, both of us saying, heavy faux brooklyn accent, how you doin'?

heavy on the d.

i'm doin' good.

how you doin'?

i'm doin' good!

how you doin'?

we go back and forth who knows how many xs, then finally we get down to biz, which always includes a reminder to send the bill to the godfather.

so ray's coming out to fix my sometimes diva of a coffee machine, who up and went kaput without so much as a nod.

no heads up at all.

i actually had to drive over to starbucks at dawn.

but oh well.

i wondered at radiation, underneath dumbo, beneath the radiant red laser lights, in the midst of the buzzing, and very faint clanking,

how do we know this thing is working?

it might move like it's working.

it might sound like it is.

but how do we really know?

if there's a part that fails, though the rest of the parts don't fail, how can we be sure it's doing it's job?

cars can drive even when they probably shouldn't be driven.

they can drive many miles before you're screwed on the side of the road.


this has never happened to me, not once, i have always followed those 'alert' signs on my dashboard,

just fyi in case the godfather sees this.


dumbo is not human.

dumbo is a machine.

same as my beloved coffee machine, who failed me on a cold wet snowy monday morning.

i wonder.

it's not the computer that is smart.

it's the humans programing them.

life on mars.

i mean life in general.

life please.

that's the idea.

dumbo, are you working?

xx katy

Monday, March 25, 2013

manic monday

t.g.i.f. has taken on a whole new meaning since the radiation began.

when friday rolls around, and the radiation techs say have a nice weekend it really 'radiates' with me, two radiation vacation days ahead.


these two days really offer a reprieve for the skin, a shot at repair.

of course though, then comes monday.

as the bangles say, just another manic monday.

i wish it was sunday.

that's my funday.

my i don't havta run day....

20 more days.

counting weekends that means 4 more weeks.

m - f

four more t.g.i.f.'s.

after today, only 3 more mondays...

the godfather and i try to spin it as best we know how, which isn't much.

if we say 13 down, that still leaves 20 to go.

if we say 4 weeks, that's still a month.

one day at a time.

that's what the pros say.

rookie's always learning'.....

fuh. getta. bout. it.

as the 'family' says.

count down continues.

happy monday!

xx katy

Sunday, March 24, 2013

tell a friend

so much of what goes on in the world of cancer treatment is what the doctors and nurses tell us, which is based on what the research tells them.

but what about what we tell each other?

the other day in the radiation waiting room, it was 4 of us gals, different ages, different stages of treatment.

i'm 50.  two were in their 60s.  one was in her 70s.

we were all the same, except one was wearing a wig, the other had a shaved head, sans wig.  

all of us had on our clumsy standard issue hospital gowns.

so and so was farther along, only two weeks left of radiation.  her skin was covered in a dressing like mole skin, medicated on the inside, able to be radiated through.

there were oohs and aahs from the rest of us.

someone else mentioned the gas involved, on the daily trips back and forth, back and forth, back and forth to treatment.

this generated a round of 'tell me about it' and 'yeah really' from the crowd.

so and so mentioned how she had to lay on the couch a couple of times in the afternoon because it was draining her energy, bam.  it was gone.

another round of 'i hear you girl'

someone said my eyes feel dry, but they keep watering, and stinging a bit.

i said really?  me too.

and another said that, and another.

that made 4 of 4 with the weirdo eyes.

each of us said we'd asked our radiation oncologist about it, and the nurses and techs, figuring it must be a side effect.

we were all told no.  it's something else.

i thought maybe it was an eye pencil i'd been using, that even though it was organic, hypo-allergenic, perhaps i was having an allergic reaction, so threw it away.

darn.  i liked that pencil.

we were told, it could be seasonal allergies.

i never had seasonal allergies before.

nor had the others.

radiation is very strange.

if there is a huge machine, in a large room, targeting a small area, how come everyone needs to leave, and shut a 6 inch thick metal door while it's on?

somethin's in the atmosphere up in here.

4 ladies.

8 eyes.

incidental findings, organic, spontaneous, over the fence, on the phone kind of discoveries, are part of the picture.

i don't doubt it.

xx katy

Saturday, March 23, 2013


 there are times when i'm considered 'laid back.'  i've actually been described as being a 'pretty laid back person.'

laid back i am not.

 whatever the opposite of laid back is, that's me.

so i don't get that perception at all.  it befuddles my overly taxed, slightly corrupt mind.

 yesterday, when it was time for my weekly visit with the radiation oncologist, it kind of blew my mind a little, when i was accused of that whole laid back thing yet again.

my skin was beginning to break down, not uncommon at this point during treatment.

the sunburn feeling had gone from slight burn, to poprocks, and sometimes a little beyond.

i'd done the comfy though hopefully sexy bra shopping thing.

but i hadn't considered the underwire.

god so 'obvie' (as our youngest says, short for obvious).

my rookie status was ever so evident there.

who knew to think of the underwire?  that it could be an enemy of skin?

not me.

anyway, i was wondering if no bra was better.

but i'm 50.  have nursed 4 babies.

i don't want to see myself out in public with no bra, and trust me, neither do you.

but around the house?


how nice the cool air feels through my sweater, when i'm cooking out back.

oh sweet mercy.

but my daughters, hawks that they are, say wait.

are you not wearing a bra?

see what i mean?

it's obvie.

i say that's right.  no bra.  but i'm in my own d*mn kitchen so it should be okay.

that shouldn't be a crime.

should it?

so yesterday, skin searing a bit, i dressed in layers, then more layers, then added a scarf.

hello world.  i'm braless today, but you don't know it!

re the laid back though.  the point of this whole story.

the radiation oncologist said well.

  why not just go free?

you've got pink hair for god's sake.

you're laid back enough to go braless.

see what i mean?

what does pink hair have to do with that?

how are they linked?

laid back i am not.

braless at home, yes i am.

skin please, my prayer to you is hold on.  

21 more treatments.

weekend furloughs.

i'm being as laid back as i can.

foreign territory though.


xx katy

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virginia, United States