Thursday, January 21, 2016

Surviving Breast Cancer: Long Live the Sitcom Queen!

“Your odds are good, but I wouldn’t go to Vegas if I were you,” said the oncologist with the best bedside manner NEVER… At least according to some patients – but he and I shared the same perverse sense of humor!

Twenty-two years later… I’m thinking I should have gone to Vegas!

January is my Breast Cancer Anniversary.

Before the movie popularized the term “bucket list,” I had one! Luckily, I had checked the really death-defying ones – sky diving, for example – off early.  Back when I was young, invincible, and coordinated –and before a husband, children, and a reason to live!

This year I decided to celebrate life in 2016 by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something fun once a week – or at the very least once a month. The only thing that’s kept me off the couch and out the door so far is my daughter Tabitha.

One week we hiked and last week we went ice skating for the first time in years. 

It is becoming clear to me that the longer I live the more death defying things I used to consider fun have become.  Even hiking my neighborhood is beginning to make me feel like a wuss. Not just the actual hike – which is the equivalent of walking up the black diamond of a ski slope – but the wild animals my neighbors keep reporting they’ve seen! Anyone else seen, The Revenant?
In 1994, I remember bartering with God and suggesting he let me live long enough to see Tabitha get married.

She’ll turn 26 in April. Perhaps this sheds a little light on why her mom, unlike my own mother (who never missed an opportunity) has never ever demanded she catch the bridal bouquet.  

Yesterday we had our first snow, and the roads off our mountain were impassable. Snow days make it easy for me to stay home and write; unless I’ve found a lump in my breast and I’m scheduled for a biopsy.

 In January 1994, that is exactly what happened.  The snow could not melt soon enough that year.

I recall lying on the examination table of the doctor’s office where I had gone for my biopsy. Thank goodness he had removed the needle, before I heard Tabitha howling in agony!

My husband had dropped me off and taken our children to get some breakfast. Tabitha had insisted on a chocolate (no shock here as she’s my daughter) milkshake. It was still freezing cold outside and her fingers had stuck to the milkshake cup.  

Nope, she was not wearing gloves, and more than likely she had argued about wearing a coat too.  Her argument being that the inside of it was too cold.  

I’m sure every woman between Mickie D’s and the Doctor’s office swooned at how adorable it was that my husband let her get away with this sort of thing.  However, I can tell you, I would have and did receive the stink-eye every single time I allowed either kid to win one of these arguments.  

Present-day, Tabitha has been assisting me with the manuscript of a children’s book I wrote for her years ago. I had all but forgotten about it, but it was one of her favorites.  It is a feminist fairytale about a hard-headed princess and her adoring father. 
How did I ever come up with that idea? 

There was no Queen in the story.  One can assume she died from breast cancer.

Lucky for me, my life was not a fairytale, but more like a sitcom.  Long live the Queen!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy Nu(clear) Year!

Chubby the white lab rat has been dismantled and Tickles Tabitha's Christmas costume packed away. It felt a little sad to wave goodbye to the tail end of Chubby, and the year 2015.

A lot can happen in a year.

This is a photo I posted last year, I was sitting on this same sofa, looking out these windows, realizing how lucky I was to have such a beautiful view. I was home alone, in a new house, in my new home state... simultaneously pensive and restless.

Some of the new neighbors I had met had been talking about their young (in some cases not so young) adult children who had moved back home for one reason or another. Even though they definitely were not bragging about it I felt the slightest twinge of envy.  

My children had been on their own and loving it for a couple of years by then. I would have predicted Hell to freeze over before predicting that either one of them would move back in with me.  

Yes, having to do this might be one of the reasons living here got called Purgatory. 
Hell didn't happen- but Purgatory sure did! First my son Jordan, and then my daughter Tabitha asked to move in with us here in Tennessee, or as Tabitha labeled it to Purgatory, while they navigate the next course of their own lives.  

Life is like that- just when you think you’re headed one direction someone hits the brakes and you’re taking a detour.

I’m happy that now Frahmhaus will also have been home to my children as well and not just their parent’s house.
My children are not the freeloading Millennials you see stupefied on an episode of Dr. Phil. They’re smart, independent, and definitely more worried that living in their parent’s basement will go from temporary to forever than I am. 
Tabitha and Jordan

Now I have someone handy to do those embarrassing side gigs for Nutcracker Publishing, and to give me all sorts of ideas and material to vent write about. 

I can't wait to share one of the many humorous and heart-warming stories my son likes to provide, to any future grandchildren he has.

FYI: The possibility of my demise before grandchildren is why I have a bookcase full of journals!

Wishing all of you a Happy Nu(clear) Year!  Clear of stress and without mental meltdowns!

Here is to 2016 and all its possibilities!