It's October 2015

It's October 2015
Have You Scheduled Your Mammogram??!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

End of A Cycle...



Yes, I know it's been a while. Five weeks to be exact. Since I've last written, there have been intelligence leaks, tragic fires in AZ, Section 3 of DOMA was overturned, we learned Paula Deen uses the N word, Robin Thicke's misogynistic Blurred Lines has held its own as #1 on the Billboard charts, preparations have been made for the soon passing of Nelson Mandela  and I won't even get into what's happening in Turkey and Egypt.  

But let's talk some more about me.

Since I've last written lots of other stuff has happened. Like, I was told by a neighbor that I look like a little elf. Not once, but twice. And the second time she said it, she thought she was making things better by saying, "Your hair's growing in," to which I replied, "That's the hair that hasn't fallen out." So she figured she'd make up for that by saying, "Well, your shirt's nice!" Oh jeez...

Last night on line at Fairway Market a woman asked me, "Can I ask you something? Did you just have cancer treatments?.... I just finished mine for ovarian cancer." I didn't mind her sharing because she really seemed to need to, but then the cashier started asking questions and after a tiring day at work, I just wanted to go home and eat watermelon... About a week ago, a cute little boy sitting next to me on the subway pointed at my head and said, "Look, Mommy, she has no hair on her head!" I liked his mom's answer, "That's her hair style, Sweetie. Just like you have one, she has one." I can't say I minded when walking west on 79th Street a doorman yelled, "Ma'am, I mean no DIS-re-SPECT, but I like your look!" Rock on, man. I suppose he could've checked the "ma'am" part at the door. My favorite comment was made by Sandy when cruising in his Mustang with the top down; he told me I resembled a Sleestak, also known as a reptilian bipedal humanoid, as featured on Land of the Lost. FINALLY, someone I can relate to!

What else.... 
Oh yeah! I had a few run-ins with celebrities, depending of course how you define celebrity. 

Here I am before the premier of "20 Feet From Stardom," which I highly recommend if you've even just once thought to yourself, Who are the background singers in this band and why are they not singing lead? 
This is Lisa Fischer and me after the movie. If you don't know who she is, that's just one reason why you need to see this movie. She's toured with and sung back up for the Rolling Stones for the past I-don't-know-how-many-years. Lisa not only rocks, she's one of the warmest people you'll every meet. She's featured a great deal in the movie and after the film she stood in for Darlene Love for a Q and A with Dick Cavet. I unfortunately walked out of the interview part because Dick's questions were annoying me and I therefore missed Dana getting called up on stage to belt out a couple of notes with Lisa. By the way, I realize I look just a tad diabolical in this photo but I wanted to share the moment.

Any of you ladies Judith Leiber fans? About 500 pieces from her collection are currently on display at the gallery she built in Springs, East Hampton. Mrs. Leiber is a Holocaust survivor and the story of how she made it in America with the help of her husband and a drive to succeed is quite amazing. 

This is Oliver and me on my lunch hour. Oliver hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His mom is Nicola and I love her. I cannot express the joy I felt when holding this little champ who I hadn't met since he was in his mom's belly.

Now, if I had a picture of Jerry Seinfeld and me it would go here. No. It would be at the top of this page. No. Top, bottom and middle. I finally got to meet him. Dr. Dana heard him interviewed on Howard Stern when he mentioned he'd be attending his good friend Colin Quinn's new show, "Unconstitutional" at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Off we went. Lo and behold, standing next to me on the will call line, was one, Mr. Seinfeld. I didn't even see him, Sandy had to give me the ol' elbow. I chatted with him for all of 60 seconds. He was very polite, in great shape and has very white teeth. I really liked his glasses, and had to refrain from asking if they were Jake Jarmel's. I really wanted to tell him I've seen every episode of his show at least a dozen times, refer to the show almost daily and would've asked if I could drive around with him and drink coffee. That would make for a good show. By the way, I didn't love "Unconstitutional" or what I heard of it. CQ tends to ramble and eat his words and he spoke without a mic. Dana's beau thought he sounded like a mental patient. But what do I care? Did I tell you that I met Jerry Seinfeld?!

On the way to a treatment the cab driver shared how important it is to laugh. He felt compelled to show me his most recent acquisition at Target: Superman swim trunks.

Sandy and me in Montauk

Weeks 8 and 9 are somewhere in Cyberspace. 

It was around this time that Sandy took me to the Berkshires to check out what's left of the Jerry Garcia Band perform with the Boston Pops at Tanglwood. What an awesome night. There was a super moon and I was with my super guy. We celebrated our two year anniversary from our first date under the stars while indulging in a feast prepared by non other than Mr. Mozes. 

Two days before Gay Pride weekend. Sheets courtesy of the doctor's office. This was not staged. 
That weekend Sandy had treated me to a private yoga lesson with Sheeryn at Hamptons Hot Yoga in Bridgehampton. I've been threatening to take classes for some time now as my back still aches, sometimes my whole body, and it deserves more attention. This lesson would probably be the third of my life and I was glad it was just me with an instructor and our water bottles and chill music.

After about 20 minutes of working within my comfort zone, I was trying to do some sort of Karate Kid pose that required more skill, flexibility and coordination all of which I didn't have. I turned to Sheeryn and said, "This is about the time when I start crying because I cannot master what I'm supposed to." I am a frustrated learner and feeling particularly vulnerable now, the floodgates opened. My feelings were that of defeat, disappointment, sadness, confusion and exhaustion. Sheeryn consoled and assured me that yoga is not about judgement and it's OK to feel this way. I reverted to a child trying to learn math problems and wanting the answers to come easily without feeling stupid and needing extra help. I realized while looking in the mirror, I'd let myself go and I could hardly recognize myself anymore. My body had morphed into an older, heavier,  bald version of myself and although it's not apparent on the outside, my body is struggling to stay emotionally and physically healthy on the inside. I thought about the appointments I've been running to, my father losing his wife, how my body aches and the need to make some great changes but the lack of clarity as to how I was going to achieve them. And then a switch went off and I just started stretching and moving my body  the best I could and it felt wonderful. I got that it didn't matter if I could twist like a yogi, I just needed to try and even though it's not someone else's best, it's mine, I own it, and it feels great. For the rest of the session I stopped beating myself up for not having started yoga sooner and not memorizing the names of the poses all of which I will forget by the time the session ended. I listened to the music and the words of this wonderful, compassionate instructor who guided me through stretches and breathing exercises with the goal of tapping into one's nature. After an hour and a half I left feeling like Lady Ga Ga breaking through the egg in her Grammy's performance of  "Born This Way" . When Sandy picked me up I told him this was one of the best gifts he had ever given me.  

At the end of this day, I headed out east where for three days Sandy and our housemates prepped for a Sopranos style BBQ. The idea was to pay our last respects to James Gandolfini. Sandy made enough sauce for all of Italy, even the Little part in NYC. About 35 people showed up Saturday night and I still am impressed by what was pulled off. I relish the thought of the next time friends can get together and enjoy themselves the way they did that night. It was our version of the "Big Night" and it's one of the greatest highlights of my summer thus far. 


Today's photo will be that of me in the chair for week 12's IV. This is the end of my three month cycle of paclitaxel. Next week I will skip chemo and go for a scan of my lungs, stomach and pelvic area. Assuming all goes well, and I think it will, I will remain on this regime but will scale back the treatments to three weeks on, one week off, repeat. For how long I repeat, I'm not sure. It may be another three month cycle and then we take another scan. I need to clarify that. 

So, be prepared for some uplifting news by the end of next week. I will do my best to report back in a timely fashion. 

Until then, don't sweat the small stuff and be grateful for all of the great people in your life. One of the doormen in the building where I work recently came by my office unexpectedly and I was in the middle of doing a bunch of things and didn't welcome the interruption. I assumed he had an issue with payroll or needed some paperwork. Nope. He only came by to offer me his prayers and handed me two mangos. I did my best not to cry and remain professional.

I couldn't wait for them to ripen and eat the first one of the season. It was actually a little bitter but really tasty and juicy and I love the texture of the fruit. I was reminded that sometimes life can be bittersweet, but heck, I'll take it. The other option ain't all that great. 

My challenge for you: Hand someone a mango today and see how you can make his or her day. 

Much love and laughter, 

eLizB. xo