Monday, November 22, 2010

PET Scans & Puma Sneakers

I've been tested, scanned and given a clean bill of health. For what ever reason I was actually quite calm during this round of tests, my first since my diagnosis last April. Statistically none of this should have happened to me, so I felt that the odds would finally favor me.

My family's declarations that "God is so very good!" were met by my standard "Yes, indeed!". One of the rare occasions in my life that I opt for a lie simply because it makes things easier.

After the tests I over indulged in Desert Pear Margarita's at Outback. 11am and I'm ordering drink after drink in a strip mall somewhere south of Atlanta. Staggering into the bathroom I dropped my passport along the way but didn't realize this until we arrived home the next day and were a 5 hour drive away. They claimed to have put it in the mail, but 2 weeks later and if push came to shove I couldn't photo document my id for shit. With an expired GA driver's permit, and no passport it will be a paperwork nightmare to renew anything if my old passport doesn't arrive. With the cost of a new passport tacked onto our Outback bill we could have gone to Ruth Chris'. I'm pretty sure if I had left a passport there I'd have it back by now...

But on to more interesting things like how my build a wardrobe project is going. I found a pair of Puma's, black and comfortable but sporty and stylish too. On sale at Nordstrom's I was afraid the Imani might be a little narrow for my wide-ish foot. But they slipped on just fine and I've been wearing them to great acclaim.

They've almost made me as happy as my test results.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Really Macy's? This is the best you could do?

My first post in months and its not about the anxiety I have surrounding the PET Scan and MRI I have scheduled for Monday. But about my attempts to show who I am through my clothes. For the most part it's going well. At 36, I feel in a kind of limbo, trying to avoid the teen scene and the matronly one as well. Though Jim swears I have the same sweater coat as Hilary Clinton, I'm ok with that.

I've bought several fantastic pieces from Lucie Lu. Great price points, wonderful customer service and clothes that are fun and unique. Got a basic black skirt with a touch of tulle from B & Lu which will be great with tights. If I ever need tights here in the lawless swamp I call home.

Igigi had a 4th of July Sale during which I bought some much needed winter stuff. Exhausted by chemo and radiation, I pictured myself in my new life draped in new finery. My cancer addled day dreams centered around a black cardigan, I bought sunglasses specifically with this sweater in mind. Unfortunately I believe I left it, the lynch pin of my fall/winter wardrobe, in a hotel room in Atlanta. Complete with tags as I had never even worn it, the temperatures being unseasonably high the day I went to see my oncologist. Anyone who saw me cry when I got back would have been under the impression that my health was failing not that I was mourning a sweater.

Having spent money at some plus size specialty stores, I decided to hit up the chains and department stores. I don't miss a lot about city living but the shopping at brick and mortar stores is definitely different here in the hinterlands. Macy's and Lane Bryant have always been my go to stores. My local outposts are severely limited in scope as compared to the multiple locations that I used to haunt but I knew that before coming here. I figured I'd order things to be shipped to the stores and that it would take longer but you can't have everything. Lane Bryant is on board but Macy's doesn't do this. So in order to get cute Michael Kors plus sized stuff I've got to pay non returnable shipping fees.

I regularly order things on line with the knowledge that they might not live up to my expectations. I have a couple of tops, that had I tried them on first, I would have gotten a different size or passed on them entirely. But they are in my closet waiting to be layered (have I mentioned how I grieve for my cardigan?) and I am content in the knowledge that I supported an independent retailer of larger sized fashions.

Macy's, I'm not going that route with you. And it is a shame because I'm spending money like a house on fire : )

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The past is never dead. It's not even past.

I'm not even all that familiar with Faulkner but our new location in Central Florida is a lot more southern then metro Atlanta, so maybe in between my post cancer treatment plan and trying to reclaim my life I'll have time to fix that.

But that particular quote came to my mind as I weeded our garden with my kiddos this morning. Back breaking work but done for my personal satisfaction. For beautification, a hobby done at our leisure. Nothing like the field and housework done by my enslaved ancestors in the Carolinas. But I think of them none the less. As we beat back the ever present kudzu that surrounds a house that over looks a golf course, we take breaks to jump in the pool and play Marco Polo.

They are a light toffee color after 5 weeks in the sunshine state. I google a color chart to describe the rich brown I've become, but can't decide on one. But it is a familiar shade I've supported every summer since childhood, much to the chagrin of my darkest but most color struck grandparent.Chopping all of my hair off at the start of my cancer treatments in June further separates me from the fine strands of gold atop my children's heads.

But they belong to me and me to them. We will never have to deny that fact for their survival or advancement.If I die tomorrow they won't have to speak of me in vague terms if they marry white spouses and hold their breaths when their own babies come. Much to my surprise this thought of living on through them is of great comfort to me.

But don't worry I plan on being around to buy the afore mentioned babies smocked clothing and helicopter bows. On that front at least I'm well situated in the South!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Sweet Home


We've finally arrived in Florida and so far so good.

My cancer didn't disrupt a whole lot but it did fuck up my plans for the kids education. We are living in a previously vacant house that my FIL owns but it is a temporary situation primarily because what little I knew about the zoned elementary school wasn't encouraging. But I was in no shape physically to do the paperwork for the excellent school I found on the side of town my FIL currently lives in, and figured our zoned school would be ok on a short term basis.

Well, after 2 days we decided to pull the emergency lever on this social experiment. My 5 year old can do my seven year old's homework and he's bright but I don't think he is going to have a phD by 12. My daughter is on automatic pilot, after a week of going over material she mastered in kindergarten. It's a sad statement about the quality of public education at large here and I know that by fleeing the school I am part of the problem.

We aren't technically limousine liberals (does anyone still use that term?) but we have a lifestyle that enables us to have many choices. I know every progressive parent who sends their child to a private school or out of their neighborhood to a "better" public one has valid reasons for doing so. So while I feel slight guilt about it, I'll be transferring them as soon as possible.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fashion Forward

My cancer wasn't particularly life changing or affirming, it basically underlined everything that I already felt. The one change that it has wrought is superficial and wardrobe related. Once upon a time I liked the clothes in my closet, I know what works for me and my clothes summed up my personality. These days not so much. Packing up to move highlighted how very sad my clothing is. Finding the money for new clothes on top of all our other moving related expenses will be hard but at this point very necessary to my mental health.

I've been inspired by all of the fat fashion bloggers out there and will try and do some shots of me once I start shopping. I'm not particularly fatalistic but if my days are numbered I'll be damned if I spend them in faded yoga pants and stained t shirts!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I've been off dealing with, as David Rakoff put it "a touch of cancer" but am hopefully on the mend.

I contemplated blogging about the process, I was physically up to it at certain points but ultimately figured that I wouldn't benefit emotionally from trying to process it through blogging.

I have plenty of funny stories from the cancer center and may post them in time but I'm off to the lawless swamp known as Florida!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

GYN Roulette

My biopsy results were promising. I don't have to see an oncologist but will have a colposcopy. Having always had normal pap smears and an uncomplicated gynecological history this is my first trip down the medical system's rabbit hole.

The GYN who performed the biopsy & pelvic exam recommended a hysterectomy. I was surprised that she would base such a drastic measure on a pelvic without the results of the biopsy, vaginal/abdominal ultrasound or CT scan. She hastily explained that the lesion was gross, visible and had to be removed regardless of the outcome of the biopsy. I understood that, I'm the one harboring this thing, I'm on board with a coup. But I asked was a hysterectomy the only option if the biopsy didn't indicate cancer? Would we have to throw out the baby with bathwater? She smiled at my lame attempt at humor but was adamant that a hysterectomy was in my immediate future. We spent more time discussing the cutting edge robotic technology one of her colleagues was spearheading, then if there was any other course of action. It didn't make me feel any better to think that my uterus & cervix could be disposed of faster then I could get a pizza delivered.

I know full well that giving a patient the worse case scenario and going from there is the name of the game. But not to give even a passing nod to other scenarios is not something that I'm going to pay for. And as an woefully underinsured American I'm definitely paying for every minute of the good doctors time.

Granted I was shellshocked but here's my transcipt of our chat post examination:

You need a hysterectomy,

20 forgettable words

You can have the hysterectomy at one of these hospitals

20 forgettable words

There is no other option but a hysterectomy

20 forgettable words

But you are in great overall health so you should recover easily from your hysterectomy.

So when she called to give me the good news and schedule the colpo (look at me I'm already speaking the talk of someone who spends way too much time googling gynocological ailments) I knew that I was going to find another exam table to spread my wares on. My single days long behind me I found having 3 pelvic exams in 5 days exhausting.

During my search for a new GYN I found the HERS Foundation who were extremely nice but unfortunately unable to point me to any specific local doctor. But they did validate my feelings of unease with my initial GYN which was of enormous comfort to me.

I've found a new GYN courtesy of google so lets hope that the roulette wheel has been kind to me this time around as I continue on my road to wellness.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Magical Thinking

As much as I enjoy Didion, I still haven't read The Year of Magical Thinking. But I read her interviews and watched her do the talk show rounds when both the book and the play debuted. I fully understood the term and am now employing a great deal of it myself.

As in "surely if the biopsy was cancerous- especially a high grade-they would have gotten me the results by now."

I think it but don't believe it and work my way through another weekend of limbo.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Biopsy

Is such an unfamiliar term for me that I keep referring to it as being benign or malevolent.

I have a mass in my uterus and life has taken a decidedly different tone.

Hopefully I will have the results by tomorrow. As these things go I feel pretty calm about it. Given my general health, I'm optimistic about the outcome. Either way I doubt if there are any more children in my future, which makes me sad but grateful that all this is occurring after I've already become a biological parent.

Whatever the results I'm headed for surgery, hopefully I'll leave the table with my ovaries, uterus & cervix in tact.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Figure Eights

As part of my quest for the kiddos to be in Florida but not of Florida, I've found an ice rink 5 minutes from where we will be staying when we move. Group lessons are relatively affordable and spending part of the summer indoors seems like a good idea to me.

Jokes about the state that is "a sunny place for shady people" aside, I'm determined to give the kids as many opportunities to learn sporting activities as we can.

I hate to exercise because for me that means time on a treadmill or elliptical machine. I take classes occasionally and that helps but the monotony of coming up with endless work out podcasts runs stale pretty quick. But the lack of sporting knowledge in my life is a real deficit.

I'm pretty certain that I'll have the time, money and inclination for tennis lessons but I think I missed the ice skating boat...

Cleaving

My turn with one of the library's copies of Julie Powell's second memoir Cleaving finally came. Buying books doesn't happen often when you've got two tuition bills and the endless stream of monetary responsibilities that come with private schools.

Long story short- I liked it.

For a number of reasons her first book was of little interest to me. I had read bits and pieces of her salon blog but I think part of it was sheer envy. Why hadn't I thought of that? With time and money to spare I had spent much of 2000-2002 cooking out of the ordinary recipes. From the slightly exotic (babas au rhum) to the dated (baked alaska) I had a blast- plus I ended up pregnant. My blackness makes me less marketable but America loves breeders, in theory if not in practice. So I've neither seen Julie & Julia nor read the book.

But a story about a marriage in trouble, anonymous sex and food is right up my alley. The first two more then the last simply because I'm more of bread and pasta, cake and ice cream kind of girl and this book is first and foremost about meat. Powell's six months as a butcher's apprentice leads to a jaunt around the globe which includes plenty of sausage making and drinking goats blood. Not for those of us happily disengaged from the source of their meat. Though I'm not one of these insipid parents who are irritated when their precious progeny spot whole dead animals at an upscale artisanly butcher shop. Quelle horreur progressive mommies- hope little Madison/Marley/Mandela isn't scarred for life...

This year long quest is in part fueled by the breakdown of her marriage and an affair with a college friend/lover who is well known to her husband. So well known in fact that he stays as an overnight guest and they pet on a couch before the husband wakes up. Let's rub the lipstick off our teeth and say "Messy, Messy, Messy!" ala Wendy Williams. Maybe that should be my blog cum book cum movie deal- my year of trying to get thru that train wreck of a show. Aww- who am I kidding, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Wendy because of her Hot 97 FM days.

Anyway, in addition to that affair she has a series of encounters with strangers for submissive sex. Sparked by the unraveling of the affair, they are described as unsatisfying which makes sense given the context.

My own experiences with anonymous sex (some of it light BDSM, some vanilla) were much the opposite. But the circumstances that found me in strange apartments doing familiar things were buoyed by a sense of fun and excitement. Looking back at my early 20's- with no one to answer to and nothing to lose (except of course my life. I was as cautious as one could be and statistically more likely to be killed by one of the losers I was ostensibly dating) I feel a sense of joy and contentment.

A decade ago, Jim and I would cuddle up and read books simultaneously, stopping every couple of pages to discuss or debate. Those days are long gone, our taste have diverged quite a bit as I plow thru an endless stream of mindless romances & thoughtful short story collections while he favors Elmore Leonard (who is still churning them out at 80!)

Cleaving is that rare find that holds something for each of us. He's started it & will probably skim all of the relationship sections and devour the meat ones. I see lots of pig centric meals in my future!