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Showing posts from 2012

Playing Catch Up, Part 1: The Long Ease

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I know. I know.

I've barely posted in a month.  And I apologize.  It's not that I haven't had thing I wanted to post about, either - it's just that time of year where finding even a MOMENT of free time is nearly impossible... let alone finding ALL the time I think I'll need to truly get to all of the things I wanted to talk about here.

But I'm going to try.  I'm at the very LEAST going to get started.  And I'm going to start with art!

I started typing about the things that disappointed/pissed me off about the "employee show / holiday party" at my full time day job gallery, but that's not very Positively Phoebe, is it?  And honestly... fuck it  all of the things that sucked about the whole situation.  Because one really wonderful thing came out of it.

I started making art again!

It's been several years since I have felt that creativity come over me.  Several years since the time when I couldn't wait to get home from work so I could…

Three Years Ago

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Three years ago today was a Wednesday.  I didn't work on Wednesdays that year.  The weather was similar to today's weather - not quite as unseasonably warm as today, but warm enough for an early December day to be raining rather than snowing.  Ryan and I got up, probably got breakfast at George's Kitchen or Dunkin' Donuts or something, and then headed downtown to procure some very special paperwork.  I don't really remember how we spent the rest of the afternoon.  What I do remember was putting on my favorite Ramones t-shirt and a headband I made that matched the oxblood Doc Marten's Ryan had bought me in the UK and driving down to our old favorite bar together in the rain.  Ryan had on a Joe Strummer t-shirt, a thrift store sport coat, and matching oxblood Docs.  We really didn't look like we were dressed any differently than we would have been on any other night at the bar.

Inside we met up with a few friends.  We quietly went over to the corner of the p…

Thanksgiving 2012

I spent last Thanksgiving trying not to puke my chemotherapied guts out down at Ryan's family's house in Mansfield.  I took my very first anti-nausea pill and my very first anxiety pill.  I nibbled crackers and drank ginger ale or sprite or something and hoped I wasn't ruining anyone's holiday.  I worried about how bad Ryan felt that he had decided to drive us down there in his '71 Challenger - not the smoothest, cleanest smelling ride on the planet - and that I had ended up getting sick because of it.

And I had cancer.

This Thanksgiving I am at home.  I am in remission.  I feel healthier and happier than I can ever remember being.  I am closer to my husband, my family and my friends.  I am filled with wonder and gratitude every single day of my life, now.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for cancer.  I hate it, but I am thankful for all of the things it brought me.  All of the positive things it gave me.  All of the important lessons it taught me.

This Thanksgivin…

Never Underestimate The Power Of PMA

We spread the message literally from Ohio to Japan and back.  The requests for prayers, positive thoughts, PMA, healing vibes, good juju... all of it.  All for little Spencer.

And today, as I stood in Target and heard Lacey's text noise... my heart was in my friggin throat as I pulled my phone out of my pocket and looked to see the words:

"NO LEUKEMIA!!!"
And then I bawled.  And then I called my mum and told her.  And then I sat in traffic for an hour trying to get to Spencer's baby brother, Sullivan's, baptism.  I have never been so happy to hug my "wife" Lacey or her hubby, Todd.

It was a wonderful day and I have no doubt in my mind that everyone's positive thoughts and prayers helped.

Thank you.  Thank you all.  And if you want to follow Lacey, Spencer, Sullivan and Todd's adventures, too, you can find them here:
http://frombettietobetty.blogspot.com/
I am so happy.  I spent a good 10 minutes snuggling with my dude, Spencer, before we left th…

A Request for My Amazing Friend

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I have this friend.  He might be the cutest guy I have ever seen (no offense to my beautiful husband...)  He's got big, sparkling blue-gray eyes and wears those glasses with the black plastic frames that all the cute boys wear.  He's got naturally gingery auburn hair that every other woman I know has attempted (and failed) to achieve with overpriced salon visits at least once in her life.  His smile could make the coldest, most hateful heart melt.  He's got a great wardrobe - always looks well put together.  He's got a penchant for stripes, plaid, skulls and robots and he looks great in a hat.  His hugs are the kind of hugs you wish all guys would give - genuine, full of love, and just a little bit needy.  And he has the kind of family every girl wishes could be HER family, too.

I could go on and on about this guy.  About what a gem he is.  About how he won me over the moment I met him.  About what a lover and a goof and a party animal and an awesome dancer he is.

But…

My Modelling Career Ended Before It Began

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I can't remember if I mentioned before about how I got asked to model in a benefit for The Gathering Place over at the hoity-toity mall on the east side...

 Well, that happened, and I agreed for some reason.

 And today, I drove over to Beachwood Place to have my fitting. I was told to go to a particular designer section at Dillard's Department Store. As I walked up, I was just horrified. To say the style of these clothes was "not me" was the understatement of the century. Don't believe me? Google "Peter Nygard for Dillard's" and have yourself a nice little chuckle.

 This is what the girl wanted to put me in:


First of all... perhaps no one ever explained to this girl the fact (and my personal philosophy) that:
a) tights are not leggings and/or b) LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!
So I immediately vetoed her request to put me in a pair of leggings.  As pants.  And then she told me she just loved that jacket.  I wrinkled my nose at her.  Told her that, no …

Let There Be Light. And Lightness of Heart.

The party. The somewhat dreaded Cancerversary Party. After all my worrying, stressing and Misery Guts nonsense - it turned out better than I could have possibly have hoped. When I arrived home, Ryan explained to me that he had threatened the janky old generator with a very large hammer. With a tremendous amount of hope that the horrible thing took his threats seriously, I arranged a huge spread of healthy treats on our giant Viking dining room table and waited to see who'd show up. A completely random cross section of our friends ended up attending. New friends. Old friends. Friends who didn't know each other at all. Friends who knew one another better than they knew Ryan or me. Friends, overall, who were happy to be able to share in my bizarre celebration. (And friends who brought enough whiskey, wine and beer to keep us drunk for weeks!) I'd be full of crap if I didn't say that I ended up pretty loaded myself last night. But it was fun and after the week, let alo…

Crappy Cancerversary...

Well here we are.  November 2nd.  One year ago today, right about NOW, actually, Nurse Erin came into my room at Fairview Hospital and told me I had cancer.

I cannot believe all that has happened in those 365 days.  How much I have changed.  How much I have grown.

I am still furious at the universe for fucking up this weekend of revelry for me and I am seriously struggling to try to remain positive in light of all that is going on.  My emotions have been swinging wildly the past couple days, nevermind the last few HOURS.  I am furious at the power company for choosing streetlights over homes as they work ever so slowly to restore power in our poor city.  And I do mean out POOR city... as it appears that all of the wealthier suburbs were reconnected to the grid first - but the poor little ghetto of Cleveland has been left on the back burner.  Looking at the First Energy website, it appears that they have Cleveland slated to be back on SUNDAY.  Neat.  So much for a stress-free weekend g…

Struggling

I had desperately hoped that this anniversary... this CANCERVERSARY... would be an awesome time of gratitude and reflection and celebration. Starting with today, the anniversary of my biopsy, my MRI and CAT Scan and my night at Fairview Hospital with my husband and father. Instead, it has turned into a horrible time of stress and sadness. Of panic and upset and anger.We still have no power. The stupid motherfucking piece of shit generator that Ryan has been miserably fixing, refixing, being kept awake night after night to fix, refix, and pour gas (read: money) into has turned into the worst possible thing that could have happened to us through this storm. It's brought more anger and stress than the comfort it may have otherwise given in the form of heat and unspoiled food. And it's basically because I cannot deal with having to watch Ryan be stressed out. And ever since last Friday, when we had a non-hurricane-related flood which destroyed the majority of Ryan's recording …

One Year Ago, November 1 and Also, How Baked Goods Can Ruin Your Night

A year ago, well, right around now - I was sitting in the waiting room at the gynecologist's office, waiting to get squeezed in for my yearly exam (squeezed in, because the girl on the phone who made my appointment said "The First" rather than "The First TUESDAY" - which was actually the second, and when my appointment was supposed to be.  All of this I am certain, now, was meant to be.  This simple mistake brought me to Dr. Kebria and Nurses Erin and Alex.  If I had showed up for my exam on the 2nd - I would have seen a different oncologist for my initial biopsy.  It was truly all meant to be.

As I walked out of work a year ago today, one of my coworkers asked where I was going and I specifically remember replying, "To another doctor who is going to tell me they don't know what's wrong with me."  Oh, how wrong I was.  And how grateful I am to Dr. Gitiforooz for telling me something was VERY wrong with me.

A year ago today.

That's when th…

Today!

As I type this, I am 10 hits away from my goal of getting 30,000 hits in this one year.  Small potatoes to the average "famous" blogger, but for me - it's awesome.  And it will CLEARLY happen today - a few days short of the goal date.

And you know what else happened today?  My wonderful Oncology Nurse called me to let me know that my biopsy was benign and my PAP smear was negative for cancer once again!

STILL CANCER FREE!!!

This will make Friday's celebration even more wonderful.  I am so happy.  So relieved.  So LUCKY!

Now I can get back to worrying about all of my friends who have been impacted by this storm!  (We lost power, but Ryan had the generator up and running our whole house and the neighbor's fridge within a few hours.  No flooding for us - but I know many people who were affected by this.)

Thank you all for sticking with me.  Best news ever today!!!!!

Love love love, Phoebe

So You Don't Have Cancer?

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Well, GOOD!  In more ways than one.  But one is specifically what I'm going to talk about right now.

Today I noticed that my mum had posted an article from the Boulder newspaper on facebook.  It was about a cancer study on people WITHOUT cancer.  Being the amazing woman that she is, my beautiful mother signed up for the study right away.

Not from Boulder?  It's cool.  The study is nationwide.  I took the liberty of looking up the info about it, which you can find here:
Cancer Prevention Study Info on cancer.org



As someone who feels as passionately as I do about seeing an end to cancer, the good news is that progress is being made. Thousands of communities have gone smoke free, more people have access to cancer screenings and treatments, and billions of dollars are being allotted to cancer research. However, more work is still needed. You can help save more lives from cancer. You can contribute to research whose purpose is to better understand the factors that cause or prevent ca…

Keeping My Pants On

...in more ways than one...

Today was my first doctor's appointment in about a year where nobody told me to get undressed from the waist down and cover myself with the sheet.  This was a nice change.

The results were less awesome, though.  After Dr. Kebria confirming last week that my recent severe hand pain is likely NOT long-lasting chemoptherapy side-effect neuropathy related, but more probably a carpal tunnel-y issue, I made an appointment with an Orthopaedic hand specialist and he had no reason to make me take off my pants!  Hooray.

I've had off-and-on hand pain due to how much I use the poor bastards for more than a decade.  Never having been big on listening to my body in the past, however, I just bought some Walgreen's wrist braces, popped a couple of advil, and dealt with the pain.  I also have to say that I have a ridiculously high pain tolerance, so I never really know how to explain my pain levels in ways regular people will understand.  The questions the docto…

And Another Thing...

Might as well make it a triple-post day.

This one is just shameless self-promotion, really.  And pointless, to boot.  But here's the thing.  In just a couple of weeks, this blog will be a year old.  I've already gone over 200 posts, so I decided that the landmark I want to try to hit by my "Cancerversary" is 30,000 hits on this blog.  At the moment that I am typing this. we're at 29,143.  So really, that's only 857 views away.  So, what I'm asking is - would you be willing to share the link to my blog?  Send some new lookers my way to help me hit my utterly meaningless goal of 30,000 hits by my one year Cancerversary / Blog Birthday.  (And no, Dad... I don't mean just sit there and hit "refresh" 800 times.)  I'd just love to be able to share this whole experience with more people.

You never know who you might really touch... and not just with the whole secret to happiness stuff, but the peeling burnt ass-crack stuff from treatment days…

Remember When...

Remember when I put that donation link up on my blog ages and ages ago?

And then, remember when I told you about our good friend "Big Jay" fighting a stupid cancer battle of his own?

Well... I just stumbled upon a donation link for him as well.  I know most of my followers probably don't know Jay... but I wanted to share HIS donation link as well.  Just in case.  Because you never know and everything helps  - this I DO know.  (I just sent the whopping five bucks I could barely afford to part with.)

So yeah.  Just in case.  For Big Jay:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO BIG JAY'S MEDICAL BILL FUND


Xxo, Phoebe

Happiness

Had kind of a rough day yesterday.Running errands with Ryan, I got hung up on his negativity and talked myself well into a terrible mood. After giving up and sleeping for a couple hours, I awoke to find Ryan gone, yet all the cars and bicycles accounted for. Somewhat panicked, I called him. He said he was out walking. Asked me to come pick him up. He was out close to the lake, near where Clifton Blvd meets the Shoreway. (A long ass walk from our house.) As I drove the several miles to get him, I thought a lot about what had been bothering me that day. I had gotten so hung up on how negative everything that had come out of his mouth all day seemed to me, I had failed to recognize that the things he was ranting about were things that he ultimately sees as hindrances to his ideal future for us. Hindrances to HIS search for happiness.
And then I got that while I was getting angry at him for bitching about how fucked we'll be if Romney gets elected, about how fucked we are to not have…

Well, That Was Unexpected

So, I'm back from my appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Kebria.  I go every three months, now, for a pelvic exam and PAP smear, as I'm sure I've mentioned.

Started by asking him about the pain in my hands and whether or not that could still be neuropathy pain from the chemo.  He thinks it's probably more like carpal tunnel or something and was going to give me a referral to an orthopedist, but I guess I forgot to grab that when we left.  This is likely because, as he was doing the exam, he says "I'm going to have to take a small biopsy."

I'm sorry, WHAT?!  A biopsy?  NO!  That can't be right.  I feel fine.  I'm healthy.  I'm happy.  I'm awesome.  I'm supposed to be worrying about Big Jay, bit about me!  No. No. NO.

Actually, as my mouth responded, "Ok," my brain immediately went to the chair to my right where Ryan was sitting.  The terror he feels every time we go to the Moll Center I am assuming now seems completely ju…

What The FUCK??!

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I've been a trendsetter as long as I can remember.  Always a little ahead of the game in music, fashion, whathaveyou.  That sounds self-important, but it's not.  It's just who I was.

But seriously, people?  I was not trying to be cool by getting cancer.  So all of you... STOP IT!!!

...

Yeah.  I know I'm trying to be silly here.  But the fact of the matter is, it seems like cancer is just everywhere all of a sudden.  I keep reiterating that I can't tell if I'm just hyper-sensitive to it now that it happened to me or if it really is suddenly everywhere.  But I think it's just getting more fucking common.  And that is some scary shit.

We lost Brother Ed.  Ryan's friend P.J. is in hospice right now.  And we just learned that today, our good friend Big Jay is having surgery to see how badly his cancer has spread.

It breaks my heart.  Big Jay.

Please.  I've asked this before regarding myself and others and I'll ask it again.  Keep him in your prayer…

And Now... A Cancer Post

Cancer has changed my life into a series of anniversaries.  Fifteen days ago was 11 months since my diagnosis. 2 weeks ago was 9 months since my treatment ended. Last Friday was 3 months since I was officially told I was in remission.  And tomorrow is my "9 month"-ish appointment with Dr. Kebria.  Another exam.  Another PAP smear. Another week or so of waiting for the letter to come in the mail saying I'm still all clear.  And then... two weeks from this coming Friday will be a year.  One year since the word "cancer" came crashing into my life and changed me forever.

My first Cancerversary.  I think I'm going to have a party.  It's a Friday.  I have a work event to go to at 4:30pm that day.  (Drinks and bowling!!)  But after that, I don't see why I can't have some people over to celebrate.  I know some people might not think that celebrating the anniversary of my DIAGNOSIS makes sense.  Some might understand celebrating the last treatment date …

The Hike

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I'm so behind at posting about the things I want to post about here.  I mean, I guess being insanely busy is a GOOD thing, but I would like to stay a LITTLE more up to date here.

But whatever.  This post isn't about that.  It's about the hike I went on 10 days ago with my friend, Rhiannon.  We are both Instagram addicts and after enjoying my Cancer Retreat hike so much, I kept noticing hiking pics in Rhianon's feed.  So I basically told her to please invite me hiking with her sometime - and she actually did!  We pretty much made an immediate date for that coming Sunday.

When said Sunday rolled around, it was rainy out, but we were not deterred.  I used to live in Seattle, for god's sake.  A little rain wasn't going to stop ME!  I picked her up and we headed down to North Chagrin Rsesrvation - part of the amazing Cleveland Metroparks System.  We really are lucky here in Cleveland to have such an incredible parks system.  I'm glad to FINALLY be one of the no…