Weird Cancer Guy…Dead!

Weird Cancer Guy...Dead!

This just in: The cancer did not spread! They found a couple of “residual” cancer cells, but chemo killed them. It’s the best possible news I could have gotten. Now the word “journey” can be used to describe big hair band, Journey, instead of cancer. “Don’t stop believin,'” ya’ll.

What else you got, Weird Cancer Guy?

ImageNot that I really want to find out. But still, I’m wondering what’s next. Will my fingernails pop open like trunk lids? Will I become 55% more agitated and annoyed? Or, will actual appendages just fall off? How about we start with my gut? I’m worried when I get a double mastectomy that my gut will officially be the biggest part of my body. I’m thinking about writing: TAKE MY GUT, PLEASE across it with a Sharpie before surgery so maybe they’ll feel sorry for me and just take it. Anyway, Weird Cancer Guy, I’ve gotten the laundry done, work done and groceries. But even you can’t save me from: “Mom, where’s my jeans?” Coming to flatten you and be flattened tomorrow. 


1- Lisa is so great at picking out cards – check out the one she got me for tomorrow. She also got me flowers and a big chocolate bar that I hid from the kids. Thanks, Lisa!

2- Michelle D called me. One of the things I’ve missed is what the kids call “Mom Talks.” That’s when I stand and talk to other moms as the kids roll their eyes like teenagers. I miss talking to Michelle.

3- Going in for the next-to-last round tomorrow. Already thinking about how I’m going to miss the people who work there and hope I never have to see them in that context again.

Out! Damn spots

For once, I’m not talking about cleaning. Today is random spot and throbbing hip joint day. I woke up and noticed new brown spots on my fingertips and palms. Plus, a side order of tingling, numb fingertips. When I walk, it’s weird hip pain. What am I, 90? All that just in time for Steven to get sick again. I put on a mask and took him to the doctor. I love how kids don’t even notice me in there. They must think I’m an overgrown newborn who learned how to walk early. Anyway, he’s got an ear infection, but they don’t treat that in 11 year olds. So it’s back to school for him tomorrow.

I thought I was doing really well today, taking Steven to Starbucks and lunch after his appointment. But after that, I tanked big time and went to bed. What-ever, Weird Cancer Guy. Steven came in to check on me, rubbed my back and told me he had a really good time with me today. That’s when I remembered what he said at Starbucks: “You’re a really great mom.” When I woke up, it was already dark outside and I felt like the luckiest mom ever.


1- Steven said I was a great mom.

2- Steven said I was a great mom.

3- Steven said I was a great mom, and I took it in.

They say it’s his birthday

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My boy Steven turns 11 today! He got a special delivery of a bacon burger and shake at school (Thanks for that super-rad idea, Shonda!) In celebration, Livvie threw him a “surprise party” in her room with stuffed animals and a big sign. He actually grinned big time. Victory for her! What a great sister. Moments like that make me feel like we actually must be doing something right. We want our kids to love each other, even if it’s for five seconds. No doubt that they motivate me like nothing else to take care of myself, crush Weird Cancer Guy and move on to help and love them for a good, long time.














No cake for you!


1- Today’s a great day. I’m not sick today. Suck it, Weird Cancer Guy.

2- While I was out walking the dog, I saw a crow carrying a lollipop. Crow + Lollipop would be a great name for a store. How many pecks does it take to get to the center anyway?

3- Went to yoga today and realized how bad chemo makes your balance suffer. I’m happily going to the gym ever day I can before I get Whak-a-Moled next week.

You Caring

Today, I went out like normal people. People who shower and put on make up. That’s right, I went to The Pearl District. I had a meeting about work, and I liked it. I’m starting to love work even more now. Every tagline I write makes me feel power over Weird Cancer Guy. How you like me now, Weird Cancer Guy? I’m W-R-I-T-I-N-G, and I’ll bet my client LIKES IT. Oh yeah, I’m still smart. I’m still clever. Then I lost my car. I walked block after block and couldn’t find my freaking car for like an HOUR. I prayed for the police horses to walk down the street and drape me over the neck until we clomped around and found it. (What kind of crime fighting can a draft horse do anyway?) I tried to let myself into other people’s black MDXs. Brian called worried, then offered to come straight there and help me. I turned a corner, and there it was, parked right in front of a giant sculpture at the park blocks. Never noticed that sculpture before. Whew.

In other news, I added a page about fundraising right here on this blog: As much as I don’t even want to ask, I have to. I never want to ask for help – it’s embarrassing. But my friends are lobbying to raise money for me so I can beat this. With two kids and a paper-thin workload, I’d be a freaking idiot not to let them.   Please visit the page and donate if you wanna. I’ll be forever grateful. What am I saying – I’m grateful to you for even reading this.


1- Barrett took me out to lunch at a place where we could seriously talk. It wasn’t loud at all. Barrett convinced me to move to Portland 14 years ago. We’ve been friends and collaborators ever since. Thank you for your compassion and laughter all these years, especially now. I love you, Barrett!

2- Loy is flying to Atlanta to attend our friend Gary’s dad’s funeral. I so so wish I could go. Gary’s been there for me countless times. I love you, LG and Gary, and will be there in spirit.

3- Hooray, my dad and his wife will be here tomorrow!! They’ve been there for me every single day. Now they’ll physically be here. How cool is that!

Honeymoon’s over, Weird Cancer Guy

Sorry about going dark for two days, but Round 3 flattened me. Just barely crawling out of it after being so tired and heavy, I couldn’t lift my head up, think or even talk. I need pills to not barf and pills to sleep. I feel like Elvis. Today, I dragged myself outside and took Xena for a walk, barely. Then, I saw two vibrant moms from school running up the hill, laughing. I caught up to them at a mailbox while they stretched and told them I was living vicariously through them. When I got home, I cried a pathetic feel-sorry-for-myself cry. I guess I can have at least one, right? Pinkie swear, I haven’t cried since the day I found out I had cancer. Regular life just feels so far away and unattainable, but I keep telling myself at least I have a chance at normal. Some of the cancer moms I’ve met through this won’t. My cancer is nowhere near as severe as theirs. Even still, there’s no getting around letting chemo do what it’s supposed to – this sucks. 


1- All the pain is worth it if I get to stay with my family and be a fantastic mom to my kids. They’re the best team I’ve ever been a part of. Brian said I should let myself cry. 

2- Trina brought me a burst of fresh tulips in the middle of winter and much-needed red-blood-cell boosting iron supplements. Even better, she sat down and talked to me – I so needed that.

3- In a flash, Lisa heard I was struggling, somehow found the perfect card and wrote magic words that made me feel empowered again. 

Making Weird Cancer Guy work for me

I’m always wondering – how can I take advantage of cancer? What about my needs? If it’s going to invade my body, the least it can do is pay rent. Here are the Einstein things I came up with:

1- Figure out a way to sand the stairs…with my head.

2- Use chemo as an excuse. Parking meter ran out? Chemo did it. Chocolate ran out? Chemo totally did that. 

3- Work chemo into my dieting strategy. Any food I take into chemo becomes associated with chemo. Later, when I see said food, I feel sick instantly. So if I take things I love but shouldn’t eat (chocolate croissants, pizza and nearly any flavor of Doritos), chemo will make these items repulsive to me. And, voila! I won’t eat them. It’s already happened with coconut water and marconi almonds. But it needs to happen with junk food.


1- Got to hang out with me friend Sandra and catch up on some serious smack talk.

2- The kids had an awesome day back to school and no homework!

3- The tumor went from Lego hard to Jello, and now I can’t feel it at all. The surgeon’s nurse said that was a good sign the chemo is working. Sure hope so! 



Surviving a crafty Christmas

Friends shouldn’t let friends like me craft. Karen and I decided to make a loft for our daughters’ American Girl dolls because a loft from the catalog costs more than my bed. Karen did the woodwork; I did spray paint and sewing. Still zinging from my last steroid, I stayed up until 2:30 am watching reruns of “Deadliest Catch” while poking myself with a WWII “Victory Needle.” No lie. It’s a sewing needle from WWII. Watch me get scurvy or something. I got all the bedding sewn before the third boat pulled up their last empty trap. Arg! But when I spray painted the loft, I primed myself. Wasn’t going for OSHA standards, but still! I’d never make it as a tagger. The loft was a huge hit with Livvie and the Elf on a Shelf.



We didn’t escape pre-holiday jitters sans drama though. Something unrelated caused a lot of tears and talk of “Why does this have to happen to you, Mom. I don’t want you to die.” Sometimes I can’t believe the kids love me so much. Maybe I wouldn’t have known the depths of their love if it weren’t for Weird Cancer Guy. I’d endure anything for them and Brian, but it’s hard seeing them grapple with it. Hoping to do something fun with them this week to get out of the house and out of my chemo-rocked brain.


1- Steven said: “What do you want to do next week, Mom? Go somewhere pink and talk about your jour-ney?” He’s my kid alright.

2- Livvie drew a portrait of me and her – I look like a smiling light bulb. She’s smiling too.

3- I have been shown massive support from my kids and family, an army of close friends, neighbors, the Abernethy school community, the bull terrier community and complete strangers. It’s giving me massive strength and appreciation for all of you. Without Weird Cancer Guy, maybe I wouldn’t have known. But I do now.

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.



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.