Being a woman is a pain in the chest

Next to chemo, everything should be a cake walk. But getting syringes of fluid pumped behind your chest muscle is no sparkly cupcake. With boobs under construction, a drain dangling from one side and a throbbing back, I am not confection happy. Why does being a woman have to be so painful. I’m talking menstruation, child carrying, child delivering and now cancer pain. Did we do something wrong in another life? If I could give Brian some of this pain, he’s gentleman enough to take it from me. Too bad it doesn’t work like that in my little cupcake world. Don’t worry though, I’ll still give you some literary three-positive-frosting…


1- While pumping fluid in the side of my chest with fluid build up, the doctor did not puncture the expander – necessitating the need for another surgery. Whew.

2- The sun is out in Portland, making our bully Xena very happy.

3- Everyone loved Steven’s blog post so much, I’m going to try to convince him to write more. He says he doesn’t know what to write. If you’ve got ideas, he’ll take ’em.

What to tell your kids about cancer




They could have said no, but they didn’t when I asked if they minded if I told our story to The Oregonian: It’s totally honest – and personal. My kids still wanted to do it. All day, I worried. Would kids at school make fun of them? It turned out the opposite. Steven’s teacher brought in a copy of the paper, and Steven talked to the class about it. When he finished, his class applauded. While I was walking our dog Xena, another mom said the article will help her talk to her kids. She just got diagnosed as well. I told her I was so sorry to have her in the cancer “club.” It’s the kind of club you wish had no members. Anyway, thanks Steven and Livvie for being brave enough to let your crazy mother share your story. Hoping this article will help other kids.


Livvie, Steven, Brian and Xena, our trusty Bull Terrier.


Exactly why my butt does look big in these genes

One of my friends asked me, Where are the three positives? I need them! Had to give blogging a rest after those shootings and contain my anger that something can’t be done about this? Sometimes too much freedom can be a curse.

On to Adventures in Cancer. I spent many hours with a geneticist last week trying to map out cancer in my family. Knowing this information is the difference between having over 60% chance of getting ovarian and 3%. Knowing exactly what gene we need to test for is the difference between a $3,400 test and a $400 test. A simple tell-all blood test doesn’t exist. So far, I don’t have the most accurate information. But my dad got on the scene and made a lot of calls, so now we’ve got Genetics…The Sequel. My aunt was a huge help as well. Stay tuned for that one. I will tell you that it’s a worthwhile thing to gather this information for your kids while people are still alive. But with HIPAA, you can’t get actual medical records, which is a total shame. Without medical records, we’re relying on memories. If we can get accurate information, we can find out the source of my cancer. But most importantly, we can determine if our kids are at high risk for cancer.

While that was happening, my hair was falling out like crazy. I would be eating lunch and became terrified it would flop into my soup or something. Trina to the rescue again! Tada! How do you like me now, Weird Cancer Guy?


1- Cancer is eco-friendly. Who knew? Not having to wash your hair or shave is like the fastest shower evah.

2- Cancer saves electricity. Like I need a blow dryer now.

3- Chemo turns your head into velcro. Check it out. You can’t rip a hat off my head. Micro stubble creates a gravity-like force velcro so hats are there to stay!


Dear Weird Cancer Guy…

Today rocked. Today was as close to normal as I have felt since my chemo A-bomb. I HAD to get out of the house, so I met my pal Maria for coffee. That felt normal. My bud Lisa came over, toting an entire dinner and snacks. Not normal. It’s not like people randomly show up with dinner every day. Both of our families just sat down and had dinner together. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. Love talking TV writing career envy with Chris and smack with Lisa. Makes me wonder why I make such a big deal out of having people over. Who cares if the tablecloth is dusty? When this is over, we need to show up at our friends’ houses with dinner and just make it happen. See that, Weird Cancer Guy. You can’t make me miserable every day. Today I got a break and loved every single minute of it. Thanks, Maria, Lisa, Chris, Ella, Steven, Livvie and Brian. Oh and to make things even better, the next Homeland DVD is here – kick-A!

The word of the day is: Surrender

How can one day feel like three weeks? Today did. When I woke up, my spine was throbbing. Like can’t-catch-your-breath throbbing. I tried to walk and it felt like my hip bones were going to pop out and run away from me like a toddler with a cell phone. The advice nurse advised drugs, so I took over-the-counter stuff that knocked the edge off.

Besides taking care of my son, still home with pneumonia, all I had to do was go see my friend Katie Todd who does crazy powerful energy work. She gave me new insight on how I approach Weird Cancer Guy. Right now, I’m at FU status. But the tumor is still part of you, she said. It’s not a random space alien thing lodged in your chest. The tumor is made of cells that lost their way and their function. Oops. Sorry about that. We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled function. How cool would that be if it were that easy? Maybe it is. Maybe visualizing more of a healing energy is more powerful than visualizing violence? I’ll try anything.

This whole time, I thought I had surrendered. But not really. Today I learned that surrendering involves a degree of trust. Trust that things will work out. Trust is something Brian and I both have to get on the same page about because it feels so scary to not be frozen in fear. We’re change agent people. We “make” things happen to the point that if we’d just cut it the hell out, something actually would happen. This time, things are happening while my energy level is suspended. People are springing to our aid from everywhere. Whatever is supposed to happen, I take up the fight. But I surrender control.


1- Surrendering might make my butt look smaller.

2- My friend Molly dropped off an official Xena Warrior Princess notebook!

3- My friend Karen dropped off a wig made of feathers. It’s pretty cool actually.