Fun at Radiology/Oncology

Waiting for the Brazilian Video

Hello, Everyone! It’s Jacki, the most infrequent blogger ever. It’s getting close to that time when it will be a year total since I had cancer. Every couple of months, I have to get checked by oncology and radiology/oncology. Yesterday, my turn to flash radiology/oncology. The doctor says: “You’ve lost weight.” Even though no one else was in the exam room, I still turned around expecting to see someone skinny. Not sure how I lost weight; but hey! Okay. Kickin. I do keep my eating pretty well in check. Then she rocked my false sense of security with this one: “Good, keep eating well and working out because we’ve got no other methods to help you.” Holy sh&^T. I almost broke into a sprint right there. As far as mental health, she assured me that it’s completely common for people to get through this, then emotionally crash. I’m on the other side of that action now. Lucky for me, I have dealt with so many depressive levels before that I knew I had to go to the doctor. It’s not something you can fix with your mood. Lucky for general public safety, no one told me to “cheer up” during this time.

THREE POSITIVES:

1 – My girl hits TWO DIGITS today! I can’t believe it. Her whip-smart humor amazes me everyday. Then, there’s her kindness. I’m so appreciative that she’s my daughter.

2 – It’s sunny and warm outside. No really. The sun is out in Portland.

3 – Jim Clark, owner of HiveFX, saved my hide. I had been trying to edit the Brazilian show video, and it pretty much trashed my laptop. He loaded on a real system and edited it down to promo size. Now it has like a 150% chance of selling. Thanks, Jim. You so totally rock. Check it above.

 

What happened to your blog?

Underground. That’s what happened. I went underground. Maybe it’s the super-public way I dealt with cancer. Or maybe it’s just standard PTSD after going through such an ordeal, but I plummeted straight down into eighth-grade-level depression. That combined with near constant anxiety attacks shut me down. I’m coming around, after going to the doctor and all that. I take comfort from my cancer friends who are reporting the same thing. Looking forward to getting my full personality back. In the meantime, even THINKING about my show, “Waiting for the Brazilian,” going on the road makes me so excited. The thought that Beto and I could make more cancer survivors and families happy makes me feel like every bomb, every late open mic night, every TIME OUT show, was worth it.

THREE POSITIVES:

1- Check out what Barbara Christenson, who represents women speakers at the Speak Well Being Group, wrote on her blog about the show. Awesome!

http://www.speakwellbeing.com/for-your-well-being-brazilian-isnt-what-you-expect-its-hotter/

2- When I went to get gas today, I discovered that somehow my gas cap was missing. I remembered who pumped my gas (in Oregon they still pump it for you) and went over there to ask if they found it. The owner of Division Street 76 was so nice, he found me a replacement at an auto parts store up the street and handed me a $10. He said, “You’re my neighbor. I want to make this right.” The thing only cost $9, so I went back and gave him his dollar. He laughed and said, “You didn’t have to do that. You made my day.”

3- Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on tonight. It’s a show you can watch with your kids. Hilarious. Plus, Andre Braugher from Homicide plays the straight man, except that his character is gay.

 

Tribute Thursday: The Boland Family

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Trina, Heather and me

 

The first time I saw Heather Boland, she was tearing up the elliptical at the gym wearing a scarf to cover her bald head courtesy of cancer treatment. I didn’t know Heather yet, but had heard she was battling cancer. A quick burst of an inhale followed by sadness and “Oh God, her kids are so young.” I didn’t think it was my business to say anything to her, but I’ve changed my thinking on that now. A year later, we met in our boys’ kindergarten class. All of our kids aligned perfectly. Two best friend boys and two best friend girls. Heather and I were in that void where there’s not enough money for childcare to work, so we took our kids around and got to talk…a lot.

One day, she practiced her speech about her experience with mouth cancer for Trina and me on my porch. Finding out. Her husband Tom leaning over, grabbing her hand. Worrying about being there for her kids. All three of us were in tears. Soon after, Heather and her family moved to Boston. We were devastated. I found myself in a deep depression, missing them so much. A year later, Steven was still drawing storybooks called: “My Best Friend Tyler Lives in Boston.” Brian flatly said: “I’ll give them two years. They’ll be back.” Okay, psychic guy. They are back, just in time for my cancer adventure.

This time, Heather leaned over and put calm hands on my hands. “We are going to get you through this,” she said. A part of my fear fell away when she said that because she had made it through. Despite taking on a demanding full-time job, she checked on me and brought us our favorite food from Jade Teahouse. They took our kids for day-long playdates. She texted me all the time. Having help from the Bolands through this was an ever-steady presence of warmth. Plus, the kids got to experience lots of play dates from their good friends Tyler and Tegan. And, Tom gave Brian comfort that can only come from someone who’s been there. So happy you guys are back! So thankful you’re our friends.

THREE POSITIVES:

1 – “Waiting for the Brazilian” Comedy for a Cure show is almost here! Next Tuesday night. Harvey’s requires a two-item menu minimum, so I’m going to have dinner down there before the show. Doors open at 6 if you want to join me. If you are a cancer survivor, call Harvey’s (503) 241-0338 and get your FREE SEAT.

2 – Livvie’s team is in the final four of Battle of the Books! Today’s matches will determine who goes on to the next level from her school. I was a big proponent of making Battle of the Books a contact sport. Sadly, I was the only one.

3 – Last weekend, I overcame annual flashback sadness. Last year, I was in the middle of chemo when Liv and I went to the Evergreen water park. I only went down the slide three times with Liv. It was sad thinking about the depleted state chemo put me on, until I went screaming down the slide about ten times this year. Brian and I even got faux romance time, re-enacting the scene from Malcolm in the Middle when the mom and dad make out in the wave pool and Brian Cranston spits out a band-aid. You gotta grab those precious moments while you can.

Had it? Lose it

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You know that day when everything sets you off? That’s been the last few days for me. The kids left rotting apples in my freshly cleaned car, then complained Ew, it stinks in here. We tried to take the kids for a fun day at a water park, but had to turn around when one kid got car sick. That was because air isn’t really a breakfast food. When Steven said he couldn’t eat dinner because he doesn’t like mushrooms, I let him have it with: “YOU MAKE DINNER!” Brian sent me out the door with a bottle of red. So I went to Maria’s house. But first, I stopped at Saint Honore to fetch chocolate. Maria’s kids laser-beamed on the box and kept lingering around to “talk” to us or “read” around us, thinking we’d share. Finally, Maria let them have it. “When you have a play date, I’m going to READ in the middle of it!” Awesome. There are so many reasons why she’s my friend. So this is an early Tribute Thursday…on Wednesday.

We met while our babies were squiggly slabs on blankets at a new mom group at Good Sam. We realized we lived in the same neighborhood and started hanging out immediately. It was that foreign land of leaving full-time employment and finding yourself a parent. When I started getting pulled under by postpartum depression, Maria noticed and told me, saving me from going under more. I went to the doctor immediately and took care of that. More kids, soccer games, pizza nights and mom nights out later, we’ve stayed friends through it all. Maria delivered soy lattes to my door and hung out with me during chemo. Her kids were awesome too – Mae drew pictures for me. Her boys picked out a Star Wars warrior that looked like me when I was bald. I took it to chemo with me. Her husband Mark and Brian downed many beers during all this.

Last night, we were talking about financial struggle the families around here and probably the entire country are going through. We’re all in that together – trying to keep money coming in while being available for the kids. It’s just always a huge comfort knowing you’re so not the only one. It’s okay that you erupt once in a while, especially when you find a way to drop it and keep going. Thanks, Raggett family for being so amazingly loving, supportive and THERE for us.

THREE POSITIVES:

1- Yesterday, an entire class of preschoolers rushed toward me on a sidewalk as if I were a walking ice cream truck. When I walked up the same sidewalk on my way to Maria’s, I looked down to see those kids had drawn hearts and “I love you” all over the sidewalk in chalk. Someone once told me kids are “master teachers of love.” True!

2- I’m in a WAY better mood today. So is everybody else in the Sturkie household.

3- I’m performing at the Spilt Milk show tonight at O’Connors in Multnomah Village. If you can’t make the Feb. 4th Brazilian show, this is a really good one. It’s small and the local comics are from my old show, TIME OUT. Plus, dinner’s good and I always love seeing Paul, our waiter.

Tribute Thursday: Lenore-Drydens rule!

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It’s Tribute time again, finally! I might be slow, but I still deliver… This time, it’s our friends the Lenore-Dryden family. They’ve included us on several annual rituals that have become some of our most favorite memories. We feel so lucky about that!

Karen Lenore is the only person I know who got sent to the principal’s office as a PARENT. With her sense of dastardly humor, we get along just famously. She’s a blur of super craftiness, kid activities on fire and boundless compassion. And her family’s right there with her, although I’ve never seen her husband John with a glue gun.

When I got cancer, her son James was the first kid to hug me and say: “I’m so sorry.” Her daughter Emma came up with a play and rounded up a team of girls to perform it for me. John kept Brian in check the entire time. They helped in so many ways. We never felt alone.

When we were terrified about medical costs, Karen organized a crafty fair. When we wanted to go to Hawaii but couldn’t, they put on a show with leis, coconut bras and busted some trick moves with ukeles. If I had to pick one family that exemplifies what we thought of as a community when we moved here, it’s Karen’s family. Thanks for being such amazing friends! Looking forward to many more stories of Karen getting sent to the office. Keep it coming, Karen. For the record, I thought your “Santa’s Little Sweatshop” posters were hilarious.

THREE POSITIVES:

1- Thrilled to get to perform with my TIME OUT Comedy alumns Joanie and Betsy at their show, Spilled Milk. Come out and see us WEDNESDAY, JAN. 22 in Multnomah Village. Here’s the 411: jackikane.com/schedule/

2- Steven’s birthday is coming up. We always give the kids a choice between big birthday party or big present. The last time we had a bunch of boys for a bday party here, one kid got stuffed in the recycle bin. This year, there’s a third choice: big experience. Wonder what he’ll pick.

3- Might get to have coffee date with Brian today. That means actual adult conversation free of prying kid bat ears. They could pick up a conversation in space.

 

Looksie – Get the last laugh on cancer at a comedy show

JackiBrazillianPoster_2FWhen I was hopped up on steroids during chemo, I stayed up all night and wrote this show. Now it’s a reality – my first one-woman show with poorly sung parody songs and other surprises. Hope to see you there!

THREE POSITIVES:

1- Cancer sucks. Let’s make fun of it.

2- Look at all the people who came together to make the poster happen: Thank you Jeffrey Smith and Kathleen Raftery of Komen Oregon; Rachelle Fisher amazing graphic designer; Russ Cederberg amazing photographer; Rachel at Dance with Joy for the use of your new space and Bill at BNC printing for saying: “Whatever you need.”

3- Two basketball games got cancelled for Steven, creating welcome chill-out family time.

Hell yeah, it’s 2014!

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Look at us…Blissfully hanging out on a hopefully dormant volcano. No idea cancer was waiting right around the corner. That’s pretty much like any day. You have no idea what’s coming. So you might as well hang out on a volcano. I’ve never been so happy to exit a year as 2013 – only because of cancer. What I’ll take with me is all the positive from my amazing husband, our kids, unstoppable friends and undeniable love. We chose to live in Portland, and that’s why. Here’s to making 2014 our year to give back. But first, I’m wondering – what three positives will you take with you into 2014?

THREE POSITIVES:

1- Looking forward! First stop…my “Waiting for the Brazilian” Comedy for the Cure, Tuesday, Feb. 4th, at Harvey’s Comedy Club. That’s right. Tuesday night – a hot night in comedy because guess who’s not famous? Me.

2- Looking back. Why is it always the same? Work out. Eat better. Oh, I know why. Having your health means you’re rich.

3- Looking at right now. You guys rock. With my infrequent ability to keep posts going, I keep thinking maybe I should stop. But people still approach me at coffee houses. I’m not sure what’s interesting about this blog. Cancer’s over. I’m still writing infrequent tributes to everyone who helped us. So what do you guys want to talk about? In the meantime, check out this cool WordPress report on the blog…prepared by monkeys.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Dear Santa, I need an extension

Okay, I’m not talking hair here. I’m talking deadlines. And I’m one of those people who hits deadlines for a living. But this one is so unfair. It snuck up on me and everyone else in the free world. Can’t we just put a filler week in there? Christmas cards? Not happening. Gifts arriving on time to East Coast grandparents? Uh. No. Gifts arriving for kids? Sure hope so. This means you, Amazon. Liv and I went on a wild run through the most lame Target ever last night. Then, I had to bribe her with lip gloss to go to Tuesday Morning, a store universally despised by all children. To finish off the holiday spirit, we watched the original Sound of Music. Normally, that’s the feel-good escape movie of the year, except how do you explain Nazi to a nine-year-old? I tried. Her only takeaway was: “They really like that ‘hills are alive’ song.”

THREE POSITIVES:

1- Here’s why it’s the most wonderful time of the year: FRIENDS! We crammed as many as we could in our house for a cheesy Polynesian Christmas and appetizer competition. Check out my pal Beto. He’s appearing with me in WAITING FOR THE BRAZILIAN…COMEDY FOR THE CURE, my comedy show at Harvey’s Comedy Club Feb. 4th (MARK IT!)

2- Looking back to this time last year makes me want to take up running. It was a Chemo Christmas. So so appreciative to be on the other side. But at the same time, my heart goes out to all the women who didn’t get to survive.

3- Best for last: My sister’s little girl is doing much better recovering at home! I’ve been so in awe of my sister’s love for her kids. What an awesome mom.

Tribute Thursday: A tale of two grandfathers

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See that dude on the left, he’s my dad. The other man is Brian’s dad. There they are watching Livvie pop up from behind a sofa at Amelie’s in Charlotte, NC, while Steven shakes his head in “grow up already mode” like he’s 30. Both gdads have been hugely supportive of us, when we started a business that barely got off the ground, then crashed with the economy. When Brian’s mom died, Brian’s dad and his wife stood behind us with both hands on our shoulders. When I got cancer, Brian’s dad shipped a car out here for us to use, so we could sell our other one. My dad flew out here with his hugely supportive wife and helped us get rid of a dental bill amassed when we were self-employed. He texted me daily to see how I was doing, which reminded me how he used to leave work at lunch and bring me root beer when I was sick. Seeing them both at one time last week was magic. We called it Nxmas, as in next to Christmas visiting, but not on it. We can’t afford to fly during holidays. Brian’s dad set us up at an amazing resort house in North Georgia; my dad drove down to Charlotte. We saw a ton of crazy supportive friends every chance we got. Thank you all for twisting schedules to make that happen. And, thank you to the two of the finest men I know – for being there. We love you.

 

THREE POSITIVES:

1- My sister’s 4-year-old daughter just got home after having some serious surgery in the hospital. So happy about that. Throw more positive Frisbees their way so she can get back on her tiny feet.

2- Almost reaching surrender mode. As in, no way can I get all this stuff done for Christmas. Just realized the real Christmas is like next week. Whaaa?

3- The dog plucked a few ornaments off the tree like it’s a doggy snack tree. We were laughing as we tackled her to avoid giving doggy Heimlich. In her case, it’d be Hindlick.

 

 

Voici Tribute Thursday: The LaBorde Famille

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Here they are in Mourenx, France, not Paris, because there are other locations in France besides Paris. Who knew?

It’s Tribute Thursday, ya’ll. That’s when I try to remind you that there are amazing people in the world. Meet the LaBorde Famille! I say famille because they’re French. When we were a new family at Abernethy Elementary, I used to notice Shonda dropping her son Josson off at Steven’s first grade class with a crazy cute baby glued to her side. Then, I heard the baby’s grandparents speaking French. I was thinking, bummer. She looks really cool and I’d love to be her friend, but if I tried to speak French now after a million years, I might hurt myself. Unlike me, Shonda is graceful and soft-spoken. So it took me a while to realize she wasn’t French. Her husband Julien is totally French. Like in an Oh yes, I wear a beret, carry baguettes and sip espresso from the Eiffel Tower kind of a way.

Fast-forward through elementary school, baby Zevry is in k-garten and our boys are headed to middle school. Our families have been friends straight through. The day Brian and I had the dreaded meeting to map out a cancer treatment plan, the kids were playing at Shonda’s. The kids didn’t know about cancer yet. When we came to pick them up, Shonda’s face went blank. The kids looked at us and knew something was wrong. We told them we had to talk to them. The first thing Steven said was, “Oh God. Tell me it’s not cancer.”

The LaBordes stayed with us through the whole mess. They brought dinner over and ate with us (Yes, baguettes were involved.) Shonda dove in head first helping organize the auction. And, Julien sat with me through chemo and drove me over there when I couldn’t see straight. They sent me a card signed by everyone in the family. But those kids! Josson was so supportive to Steven and me. He always asked how I was doing and took time to make fun of my hair and no hair. One day, Zevry screeched to a halt when he noticed I was bald. “Where’s your hair?” he said. “I don’t have any. Can I have some of yours?” I asked. So he ran around looking for scissors when Shonda stopped him!

I’m looking forward to many more years of drinking wine and whiskey (That’s right, Julien. I’m a slow drinker, but I’m still in!) Thanks for being such amazing friends to us through sickness and home projects. We love you and hope to re-enact your engagement on top of the Eiffel Tower one day.

THREE POSITIVES:

1- After almost 12 years of bodily torment, we got a new mattress. Seriously, camp sleeping on gravel is more comfortable. Very excited to have a new one.

2- It’s freezing cold, but sunny. Score: 1-1.

3- Steven’s team won their first bball game last night. There’s hope after getting pummeled by kids who eat steel for breakfast last year.