There’s No Tooth Fairy at 52

There’s No Tooth Fairy at 52

My chemo – probably the Xgeva – made me throw a cap off of my right canine tooth today.  My tooth, ground to a nub by my dentist in Miami 15 years ago, now sits between an incisor and the tooth that kicked all this dentistry off so many years ago. I would cover my mouth because the discoloration that no amount of bonding would cover showed through. Prior to the magnificent new smile my dentist gave my face, I lived to go to the Movies.  It was in those dark, cool cinemas, I could laugh loud and proud. And I love to laugh and to tell jokes, and to lift the corners of a friend’s sad eyes with a bad pun or off color made up limerick. Or produce eye rolls with my on the fly songs about my cat or a situation with my cancer. 

I ran my tongue over my teeth and thought from the texture that the blueberry scone had deposited a blueberry skin onto my tooth. Upstairs, I grabbed my toothbrush and put some sensitive mouth toothpaste on my brush. And looked painfully into the mirror. I am glad my husband wasn’t home because I wailed hard. NO NO NO NOT THIS TOO – FUCKING CANCER TAKES EVERYTHING EVEN MY SMILE. I cried for about an hour. Maybe I needed a good cry. There’s too much going on right now to take time to cry. I feel these days I need to get things in order at home. I don’t feel well. I know my disease is “stable” and I know I am having a really hard time getting an appointment with my oncologist and palliative oncologist, but it’s not personal.  A dentist can fix my lost cap sooner than later. I hope. Craig offered to cover it for me since I cannot even afford to eat in Northern California on my own. I can smile for the little things and cry for the big ones. 

Today he and I we were talking about being tall and how people expect tall kids to be tough. My 16 year old stepson is almost 6′ 5″ – I was 6′ at his age. People also expect you to reflect a maturity beyond your years when you’re a tall kid. Its our burden and the curse of the tall. I said I always felt like an awkward Amazon and Craig said, “you are a beautiful warrior – as the Amazonian women were. You even have your right breast smaller from a surgery like they did to shoot their archery equipment more accurately. And you’re hitting the cancer head on withtough grace like you do everything.” I beamed at him and blushed at his comment. I wished it was after the tooth loss since we had a few stupid fights after the touching comments of the morning. Maybe I need more than he can give. I’m afraid he’s feeling safety in his depression so he doesn’t have to deal with some tough things going on in his world.  It’s so aggravating to be so all alone with my cancer and pools of festering lies we uncovered recently for the personal gain of an 18 year old.

But better days come. They have to. Right? But there won’t be a tooth fairy flitting around the bedroom waiting until I fall asleep to put a crisp 5 spot under my pillow. I don’t know where the cap tooth is and I probably swallowed it anyway. I cannot handle cancer sometimes. I just wanted to at least keep a decent looking corpse for the dying young crowd to cry over, but that’s not going to be the case if this keeps up.

The Sisters

The Sisters

Realize hidden oddities.
Attract orbital bodies.
Finish the eighth course.
Utilize blunt force.
Down the whole bottle.
Open your sore throttle.
Drive the horses faster.
Submit to each and every disaster.
Delete each of the black spells words.
Toss up madrigal white birds.
Raise your boisterous heavy voice.
Leave to feast another’s choice.
Breathe in the swollen air your spoiling.
Surrender up your daily work and toiling.

Lay down slowly my friend,
Just breathe out its your end.
Hear the softly spoken whisper,
‘From each woman, my sister.’


A quick side note to The Sisters – this poem represents the sisterhood of all of us going through cancer. We’ve become a different species – although we’re not witches, we’re in some sense the women who wear the scarlet letter. Only this letter is “C.” It’s nothing we chose, but what’s been thrust upon us and weighted us down with so many changes, that the difficulty in understanding us our closest relatives even find, is the language we have that’s brand new with each diagnosis.  I think we’re all there for one another, either in person or virtually through blogs such as mine and yours, or though groups we might meet up in, or even in line at the grocery store, where I’ve met more than my share of sisters.  I think that my own step-sister became upset when she read this thinking it was about her…

…and I hope she never enters this reluctant cancer sisterhood. I hope one day there’s not a single woman left in this sisterhood.

The emotional toll of cancer

The emotional toll of cancer

You all know who you are.  People in places I no longer live or visit. My family pronounced me dead with my mother, although my step sister teased me with phone calls while she was unemployed but now that she’s working has no need of me. Not one person from my family has even reached out to me, not even to allow me the final goodbye I desperately needed with my mother. She died and you all kept me in the dark about the funeral. My brother messaged my ex husband on Facebok the night before her funeral in south Florida. I got a text saying my condolences and I had to ask my ex why he sent this text to me. 

But we get used to our friends and family deserting the sinking ship that is our lives, don’t we? I miss hearing laughter and the sound of thunder during storms or bumble bees or the condescending sounds of the Atlantic Ocean as it slaps the shore calling me in for a swim in its warm body. Florida, weird and wonderful. New York City still calls my name and I want to die in the same hospital I was born in. That’s my only wish if I should slip into a bad spot when we decide no more chemo and no more pain.

But to those of you who probably know I have the dread disease, did I hear you say I’m over you? You really still miss my cooking and our dinner parties? Our walks in the trees near the trailer in Gainesville where your mom kept that horse? I still laugh at your funny David Attenborough impression you’d use to narrate my 30 pounder Buddy, or Olaf Budson the Norwegian elk cat? Your recovery from Vicodin on my couch as I shooed away your nasty ex boyfriend while he just wanted the tv as you laid there barely breathing and I still have the silver dollar I found in the dirt at the hospital that day? You remember how your crazy cousins tried to convince me you were in the mob and how you handed me 10,000 dollars in chips at the craps table at MGM in Las Vegas and I lost it all but a 100 dollar chip which I keep hidden in a book in my office? When I asked you why you did it you said scared money don’t win and don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose. God, that was good advice. Do you remember us going to pick up guys at a bar in Miami and how hard we laughed when you realized you had toilet paper stuck in your tights and it had been attached to the roll and about 300 feet of it were behind you like a chemtrail? Do you know I have the photos of our wedding in Las Vegas and my favorite is probably one of the first selfies ever of you riding down in the elevator at the Golden  Nugget, mirrors around you and a Marlboro light hanging from the side of your mouth with a look of a deer in the headlights on your face? Do you know our cat Pedro lived to be 23 years old and he made it to California with me? Did you know I hated you for having me come to your hotel room in Sausalito to shave your back for your date with the woman to whom you’re now married and though I doubt she will read this but if she does, fuck you for leaving me here in California after dragging me away from my home to a place where I knew hardly anyone and the market took a shit that year and so did the job market with it? I saved you from certain distruction when you had no job and no home and let you live in my house when you were tossed out by your wife and then you moved in your girlfriend and took over my home and the rest of what I had left in the world after being stalked by a nutty rebound boyfriend? I remember the guilty smear campaign you and she went on to cover over your fear and guilt. I used to really love visiting with the great friend who hired me at Cisco after you’d moved onto Google and we’d have lunches about once a quarter for years. And that the last time I saw you in New York City you complimented me for continuing to blow my then boyfriend and current husband in the shower even after I’d broken my nose on his pelvic bone. And how we skipped out of the telecom show to go like little kids to universal studios that day and had so much fun riding roller coasters after my panel on the rise of social media before it was even called social media. Thanks to a roommate and once dear hearted asexual with the infectious laugh with whom videos were made of our friends including thre singer of the band and the guitar player in Gainesville, and don’t forget the girlfriend of the singer who married and divorced my most cherished friend of all to whom I gave a job so she could eat when she arrived in Gainesville from along visit to Russia. And to the one who I never believed would leave me so plainly due to a fear of tears, it’s you scarecrow I miss the most. Not the one in the trailer that year but the one who called me for career advice and bailed me out of an all too frightening extortion scheme while my husband was releasing the toughest software for security’s sake ever to be released. 

But I’ve not heard from any one of you. 

As for those who kept their hearts open and arms wide for hugs and for tears, I have the constant and same for you all, too. My ever present respect and love of your souls and energies carry me like air carries a bird in its thermal winds.

You never let me get too far, my dearest and first love with whom a lifetime of ditching one another for sport became a true and long friendship. Thank you for remembering me from the French territory where we spent many cold weeks decorating and listening to Coltrane. Thank you for remembering me even though you’re finally and proudly full time employed and you have more wonderful children than one could be blessed with and a husband who treats you right. Thank you my favorite Cisco SED who I had no idea had a wife with a lifetime illness and your emails make me feel cared about. Thank you to the woman who spent hours with me on the phone who I worked with at Nuance and is not just a fine mother, marketer, and maker of merriment but friend, too. Thank you to my biker buddy who has spent countless hours with me allowing my venting sessions to go on as long as they needed. Thank you for asking me via text how I am from over in Capitola and for letting me know I always have a home if I need one. Thank you for showing me another way to do my business and for being there since day one in the hospital to my good but tough friend who loves me but can’t say it easily like I can. My neighbors for being closer to me than I’d ever known a real neighbor. One who is just as talkative as I am, the other who diligently writes me cards and gives me quiet support since she too has had a bout of breast cancer. And thank you, my most favorite person, my husband for coming back for me from a dark place and getting bathed in light with me so my laughter is the last thing you hear at night not my tears.

Friends cannot always understand cancer, priceless are my new friends who check on me even when I refuse to be loved, and I thank you.

But love comes in all shapes and sizes and colors, but isn’t it always the times we need love most when a cat on our lap is really all you can handle? It’s those friends who can recognize us as not being assholes on those days, but they gently put us to bed, kiss our foreheads metaphorically and tell us, it’s okay, I’ll see your beautiful face tomorrow?

Excellent resources for understanding this hideous malady

I found excellent resources published by America’s own #NIH. God help us if our current administration takes away cancer health and research funding. I ALREADY LOST MY INSURANCE. Now what – my friends I will not get on my soap box. But god help us all. And do not tell me we weren’t already the laughing stocks, our own president asks why the civil war took place, doesn’t know when Andrew Jackson was president, and I submit this administration should not mess with our personal  health.
#breastcancer #cancerresearch #cancerresources

Aborted Flight

Aborted Flight

Ugly surprise. Shrinking.Tag – you have “it.”  
From a secure pilots seat,
I ascended into the air
My back holds no parachute.
Speeding towards an ever larger ground,
Too fast with the map,
My territory expands at rates unseen before.

I smack down on the ground,
I writhe for longer than pain allows.
The map designed by haughty painters. Ridiculous photographers. 
Chisels and sculpture. 

If my face looks the same,
If my skin feels the same,
If my body smells the same,
If an apple tastes the same,
If a dime spends the same,
Then I am a Mistake. 
Another abortion in a three trimester life. 
I could stay down here forever,
Where a man wrote in Alice

For myself.
Then words,
Cost nothing,
And valued at nothing.  
No denial of my meaning,
No vague sensibilities.
Lucky – colorful creatures, you visual artists –
Relying on subjectivity. Simply,
Blame the viewer.
My lines cooperate with you. 
I write shaming myself,
Blamed by your objectivity.
Free words free no one free flights go nowhere.
You got what you paid for have a nice day.

A Marriage of Inconvenience

3:30 am. My appointment immanent this morning at 11:30 for a full body CT scan, with contrast. No eating for three hours prior to the scan. No problem. No problem. Growing weary of cancer this week, two long appointments. One with my palliative oncologist to discuss pain intervention. Today’s to peer into my body to check up on my cancer’s progression – for better or worse.  In sickness and without a hope of tea; health, cancer eloped with me into a marriage meant for divorce. And not a single day since diagnosis goes by without the thoughts of dumping it for good. Our two- year anniversary is next month. So too, my husband and I celebrate our anniversary on Pi – 3.14. Of course, he’s a brilliant polymath and I’m an English major. Poetic justice on all fronts.

In metastatic disease, one never ever files for divorce. Oh, there’s paperwork. Like my wishes for the end of life procedures, who decides in the absence of my own ability to do so what wishes they carry out on my behalf. Fun stuff. Who wants the job? My husband took it reluctantly, mournfully. Last week I asked him to cremate me and make a glass marble with my remains. I joked he could keep me in his pocket and play with me whenever he wanted and I’d never complain again. He finds my humor very weird sometimes.

Last night I wanted just to laugh. We watched a stand up comedienne Kathleen Madigan and Craig had trouble sleeping afterwards. I came downstairs to try and work a bit on my Etsy shop. And here at 4 am I blogg in the kitchen, standing on the cold floor. Simon, my cat, drops mousies at  my feet telling me it’s time for bed. Rrrrrrraow! I cry in his fur. He licks my nose. He’s waiting for me on the stairs.

Goodnight house, goodnight kitchen, goodnight blog, I’m done bitchin’.

Result. Nothing’s new. Nothing grew. No better no worse. It’s like my marriage. Nothing new. Nothing grew. I need more action on both fronts.

Stay tuned. Storms brewing. Not like tea. But like ideas.  A brain storm fronts on the horizon.