Posts Tagged ‘the fantastic’

Awesomely, I am cancer-free.  I’d call for a hallelujah but I’m not religious like that.  Oh come on, HALLELUJAH!

After hacking most of my arm off (no, not really) at the end of June and taking the sentinel lymph nodes to task for falling asleep on the job, I got a clean bill of health, well, at least as far as that no-good-piece-of-crap cancer is concerned.

The scar is nasty – pic at the bottom for you ewwwing pleasure – but I’m posting it as a service.  When they say “wide excision” and your general practice doc says “you’ll be a bit disfigured” and “your career, ha, as an arm model is out the door!” she’s actually NOT KIDDING.

So melanoma patients: I was a scaredy cat.  I read the survival rates online, got the shit scared out of me and ran for the hills.  I relied on my surgeon and dermatologist to provide the information about the cancer and methods of treatment.  That worked for me.  I DID try to research what a “wide excision of the arm” would look like with little luck.  I need more pictures people!  So it’s a public service to all you other searchers.  Look.

So, to recap, that mid-may diagnosis of melanoma turned out to be The Real McCoy but I am now cancer-free.  The follow-up for me is dermatologist visits every six months and the oncologist for chest x-rays and blood work once a year.  I can’t quite believe I’m a cancer patient, albeit the very best sort.  My last words on the topic?  You’re not too young to get it so get yourself to a skin-check.  It’s worth the 15 minutes of being stared at with a magnifying glass.  And some of you might enjoy that!



Posted: 29 December 2009 in observations

Looks like we’ve moved into a more seasonal weather pattern.  Rain, some sleet, chilly wind.  The snow was absolutely lovely, but I’m just as happy not to shovel.  The photo opportunities in the snow are amazing and it has been a few years since I caught something so beautiful.  Here’s me just missing Jack Frost the last morning of our big snowstorm.


Posted: 26 December 2009 in observations
Tags: ,

In the time we’ve been together, we’ve been building traditions.  We’ve got one or two here and there (a mix cd on Valentine’s Day, she scoops the pumpkin guts, staying home with appetizers on New Year’s Eve) but on Christmas, we’ve amassed more than a few.  Some of them are traditional and come from our families.  Some  traditions we don’t manage every year.  Some are more habit than tradition.  Some are you and me, every year, I love you traditions.

An orange in the toe of my stocking.  Chocolate coins.  At least one silly gift (this year, terrified pickles).  Stockings first, before breakfast even.  She wakes me with “Merry Christmas”.  If there’s company, then homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and turkey for supper.  Fried oysters on Christmas Eve (or tamales, depending on which side of the Mississippi we’re on).  At least one gift from Santa.  Marking the year on the bottom of new ornaments.  Making cookies, candy, toffee.  Small gifts (more expensive things happen on birthdays).  Every year, a wind-up toy.  Tears every single time I hang that reindeer ornament.

You might have some of these with your own families.  I hope you do.  Here’s to building more in the future.

I’m not sure why we don’t shop like this every year.

D and I usually exchange gifts on the 25th.  Small gifts generally, things we think the other would like.  We were going to skip that this year in favor of something bigger but scrapped it and were left with nothing.  So we braved the holiday traffic and mobs to drive an hour to a place where there are a lot of shops crammed together.  A mall I suppose, but outdoors.  With a $50 limit, I was planning to buy a couple of smaller things and focus on not panicking in the crowds.

So, plans in place, we went to sleep last night excited about our plans.  And then I woke up at 3 with a splitting headache.  Sure, it was the same headache I’ve had off and on for four days but it had been gone for a few hours earlier and I was hoping I was off the hook.  Lies.  So I spent the wee hours wishing my ache away and watching infomercials.  As you do.  At 5, I fell back asleep, armed with advil.  At 8, she woke me up and my headache jangled around in one eye, trying to shred my brain.  At 10, we left to shop.  30 minutes in, we had to stop so I could buy sunglasses.  45 minutes in, we had to stop so I could toss my breakfast on to the side of the road.  When we arrived, I gave in and took the medication that might be causing rebound headaches but it’s christmas and I don’t care.

I was prepared to possibly die today in clouds of aftershave, pushy, last minute shoppers and screaming children.  In fact, the only crowds I encountered were in the tech heavy stores (along with overwhelming cologne – seriously guys, lay off in a public place) and the only kid that screamed had every reason to, being short one coat in the freezing cold.  D and I shopped separately, leisurely, and both had a wonderful time finding things for each other.  We capped it off with a visit to a pet store that miraculously had the special food our special dog needs and lunch with a queer server.  Talk about a christmas score.

So, tonight we’re celebrating with a gift certificate to an upscale Southern restaurant that our realtor gave us and tomorrow we’ll unwrap those gifts bought with love and leisure.  Who knew christmas eve could be so mellow?

No, no shoveling yet.  And, regardless of whether you’re calling it snowmageddon or snowpocolypse, it really is a lot of snow.  My only experience with this much snow at once was in Chicago in 1979 when I was barely old enough to remember.  The national weather service says they got 18 inches that January, though this description might be more accurate.  There is a picture of me sitting level with the top of a stop sign that weekend after plowing and I haven’t seen such dramatic snowfall since.

It’s still snowing (though less) and we’re just shy of 24 inches.  24.  Two feet.  That doesn’t seem like so much when you’re just thinking about it, but it means that cars are suggestions in a drift and if you stand in a dip, you’re up to your waist.  Charlottesville is a Southern city unaccustomed to snowfall.  On the plus side – everyone seems to be staying in (unlike DC where thousands of uninitiated snow drivers take to the highways at the first flake and stay out there til they crash and die).  On the minus side – there aren’t actually any plows.  More…tractors with plow attachments.

Tomorrow – shoveling.

Well, well, well.  Times have changed, haven’t they?  I’d say I didn’t know what caused it, but I do.  It’s all this pure countryside living.  Either that or the fertility clinic we went to this summer.  I know, I didn’t tell you it was coming.  Think of it this way, we didn’t really tell anyone.  Not even our parents.  Okay, ESPECIALLY not our parents. And now we’re in trouble, knocked up, in a delicate condition, pregnant.

D, in particular is pregnant, but isn’t that what you say?  We’re pregnant?  It’s amazing how early a woman’s body quickly belongs to the collective once she’s bearing a child.  I give myself a good mental smack every time I think it in an effort to psychologically give her her body back, but I’m thwarted at every turn.  For example, several people took the liberty of hugging us today when shared the news.  This is work folks, we are colleagues, we don’t hug.  Don’t even get me started on the way many pregnancy books manage to marginalize both the mother and any partner she has that isn’t her straight, American, husband.  Like I said, don’t get me started.

You might have questions.  How, in fact, did two hot, sexy women such as yourselves manage to conceive the miracle of life? We selected sperm from a bank, we shipped it to a doctor, he injected it into her uterus twice (once in August and once in September), she got pregnant.  Here’s what we didn’t do: we did not tell our other “trying” friends the number of our donor (I’ve heard that occurs), we did not take any fertility drugs and we did not tell people we were attempting to fertilize an egg.

Honestly, we’re still a little queasy about the idea of thwarting evolution at all, but have opted to become glassy-eyed with baby thoughts instead of considering the damage we’ve done to the human race by electing to use artificial means of conception.  Well, she’s queasy for entirely different reasons.  So, details: she’s 13 weeks, due in late June, we’re not going to find out the sex, and I won’t be numbing your eyes with baby chat here.

Two things – check out the page at the top titled “Plus One”.  If baby talk is your thing you can find me at Counting Chickens.  That’s it for this pregnancy public service announcement.

Points for not shunning me.

Stick it out til the end. It’s worth it.

Bucking the trend, we just got a subscription to the local paper.  There’s not actually much paper to speak of; a total of two sections with about 8 pages each.  The two sections?  The A section (including all local and national news) and Sports section (including local sports, comics, Dear Abby and the crossword).  As an aside, the crossword is an amateur event, involving questionable and repetitive clues. Since we decided to get the paper for the crossword and the coupons, I don’t know how long this paper subscription will actually last.  Wow, I just turned 92 while you sat here and watched.  Son, get me my bifocals and I’ll give you a quarter!

I tell you all that to tell you this, the obituaries hold a place of honor on the second page.   The second page.   I’m completely unable to read the paper without spending time pursuing the obits because of their startling placement. And there aren’t the obituaries I’m used to – tiny two-inch columns with a smiling black and white picture and the bare minimum of information.  These are the obituaries you spend time writing before you die.  The laudatory life list that remembers you not only to friends and family, but to complete strangers who tear up at your well-lived life.   Oh…that’s just me.

So in the morning we read about “Sassy” and Arnold “Tex” Stewart and Sue Elizabeth Sarah Moore Midgett.  I’m not sure where the Ted Johnsons and Alice Maxwells live, but it isn’t here.  We learn about where they’ve come from (Orange, Roanoke) and what they did (mechanic, Navy, cook). We find out what their quirks were (“visitors scuttled to the balcony to prevent being killed by a tower of books” – no, I’m serious) and where to send flowers.  The dullest part is usually the preceded in death by and survived by bit.  It’s the most mandatory though and the most common content. I usually skip over those bits when I’m reading about Sassy and Tex to my wife over cereal.

I skipped over them…until I got to Aubrey.  He had a list of precededs and surviveds and particularly caught our attention with the mention of his grandchildren: he apparently favored one, Stevie.  I’m not sure how the other kids will feel about that.  I almost moved on to the next obit until I realized that, not only was Aubrey survived by his wife of 25 years, he was also survived by his special bed partner “Tina”.

Oh yes, they did. I’ve attached the photo.  This is a cached version since, as you can imagine, the official obit was replaced the following day with one that didn’t even whisper the name Tina.  Sure, you could argue that Tina is a faithful hound, but I suspect that Tina is the special lady, nay, bed partner, who was responsible for faxing this piece of work in the first time.  I think we’ll keep the paper.