Thursday, December 30, 2010


The other day I opened up the overstuffed manila folder entitled "f#$king cancer b*&llsh*t" in order to retrieve some information that seems like it left my brain 10 years ago. Could it have only been a couple months since I placed it there? Surely this nonsense has been going on for my entire life. It's ludicrous to me when I reflect on the ancient memories of chemo and surgery. Maybe my brain found a way to encrypt those moments with the same threadbare architecture of faded memories that have long since lost their credibility as having really taken place.
2010, you certainly were interesting. Thank you for letting me close you out, for letting me read stories to my babies tonight, for letting me help new friends build a simple fire, for letting me tell the world and everyone in it how much I love them, for letting me get my sh*t together enough to build an army, for letting me feel the warmth of my new footie hoodie pajamas, for letting me see that my friendships transcend all attempts of description, for letting me see the true nature of the human spirit stripped down to it's fundamental goodness, for letting me realize what a gift you are. 2010, I can't seem to focus on all the tears your brought, at least not those cried in sadness. Thank you for that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The golden rule

Why do we need anything more then this? We're such a young species and we've come so far so fast, but just think of where we'll be 1,000 years from now. I hope my contribution along the string of life that gets us into a smarter more evolved world will be infused with the golden rule. Can't imagine that that will ever get old.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Setting the standard low and loving it

I have never been one for conforming to social constraints, so whenever i have a valid excuse for gliding through life with as loose a hold onto "normal" as I can muster, I'm a happy girl. When I was pregnant, I used to go to work in my slippers..closed toe slippers of course, wouldn't want to get the lab in trouble. If other women could use pregnancy as an excuse to eat unlimited bon bons in a guilt free manner, why was I not entitled to my own sense of self pampering. Now that I can pull out the cancer card, I use it more freely then a spoiled teen with daddy's American Express. Tonight I had to run out to the store to buy some batteries for a gift that Robby opened and was eager to try. We looked for the cord to plug it in with but alas, the sales man neglected to inform me that it was sold separately, even after I had specifically asked him about just that requirement. SO off to the store I had to go. Not wanting to get out of my footie pajama's, I decided it was time to introduce the world to my white fleece jammies adorned with hot pink lips. Off to Cumberland Farms I went, beyond white trash. Did I care? No. Did anyone else care? No. I bought the batteries, gave them to the boy, saw a big smile on his face, got one myself and went on with the night. Oh yeah, I then went on to wrap all the Christmas presents with duct tape....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Joy to the world

A little over a month ago, my friend and co-worker, Kendra, approached me with a novel idea for raising money and awareness for angiosarcoma. Christmas Caroling. EH? Carol what? This concept had never entered the mind of this Jewish girl who grew up with a yiddish speaking santa claus who would dole out pez dispensers and call it a night. What the hell I thought, this woman was kind enough to offer and it'll sure be a new experience for me. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, so I went into this with mild apprehension. I was given sheet music to songs I'd never heard before, sheet music with what might as well been written in Sanskrit for all I know about music.
We gathered at the Auburn Mall, my friend Jen, Kendra, her sister, husband and close friends. After quick hello's we got on stage and started to sing. These folks were amazing! They sounded so good, and people responded in kind. I was very moved by the warm smiles on the passers by, whether they donated or not. They left a little happier. I was drawn deep into the moment by all the children, and the parents who encouraged them to donate. Right there before us, we saw first hand the indoctrination of kindness. I really had no idea how moving this experience would be. I'm truly appreciative for all the effort that Kendra and her friends put into this, what another great example of how this disease has made my privy to the goodness in people.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

RIP Ken Coppola

Ken was one of the first people I connected with when I was diagnosed. He's the tough atlanta city cop I alluded to in the speech I gave about angiosarcoma at this years Umass cancer walk. Ken was a soldier, a detective, a husband, and most important to him, a father. He had reached out to many of us in an effort to ensure that someone would be able to convey his love to his 4 year old son Rocco. This amazingly deep love was not enough to keep him alive, but it certainly stamped him inside of time.... It's burned into me. I can't believe I'm talking about him in the past tense..just like that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In my life, I've loved couches more

When I was growing up, we had ample space in our house for me to have a conventional room, but I choose to sleep on a makeshift sectional couch in the basement. The basement had an escape hatch which made sleeping on something that would separate such that most of your body was sagging in between sections, totally worth it because I could walk out the back door whenever I heard my dad snoozing in his favorite chair upstairs. The next time that my life and happiness were dependent on a couch was when I worked at the drop zone in Northhampton MA. There was a group of older skydivers that would come out for the weekend and set up shop with their vans, tents, moonshine and other unmentionables. At night, we'd have massive bonfires and from time to time, someone would haul out an old used couch that was ready to make it into the spirit world. Simeralli, the leader of the pack (which was self identified as "the ghetto") , would place the couch on the tinder, sit on the couch, start the fire and see how long he could stay on the blazing saddle. I joined him once, but he outlasted me by minutes! It may be from these fond memories that lead me to the level of excitement regarding my new couch, or maybe I'm just couchophilic. Either way. I'm thrilled to have a real piece of furniture that we bought new. I feel like such a grown up. Hopefully I'll be around to see it old and dilapidated. I'll outlast anyone sitting in that bonfire!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For Angie

You are a fierce Lion, especially when it rains:). Sorry I missed you tonight!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I hate ALS more then cancer

Maybe we make up monsters so that we don't have to face things in reality that are truly horrifying. We don't need Stephen King when we have ALS. I have a friend who leads a parallel life to me, but instead of getting a rare and deadly cancer, he pulled the ALS card out of fates box. We're both rock climbing scientists married to fitness guru's. We both love Mexican food. We sat down the day we met and compared notes and found it eerily strange how much we had in common. Neither of us guessed it would extend this far. I am truly heartbroken that he has to even know what the letters ALS stand for, let alone play them out in his life. When they were at the beginning stages of diagnosing him, his wife, one of my best friends, someone I've been through so much with...much more then should be allowed in one life time, told me that they were praying that the lesions they found on his spine were least he would be able to fight it. Seriously folks, we humans need to figure this shit out. We can't live these comfortable lives replete with all the modern day luxuries that spoil us into complacency and do nothing for people who live tortured lives. We have to study hard and figure it out!

Monday, December 6, 2010

fun day in the city

Yesterday, my friend Heather "hessy" treated me to an amazing day in NYC. We've been friends since childhood, went to undergrad together and have been mildly obsessed with pee-wee herman throughout. Last week she texted me times and dates that she found to see our common hero on Broadway. That day was yesterday, Dec. 5th. That day, we saw pee-wee. That day, he saw us as we waited in the frigid December city streets for a glimpse at him as he exited the building. It was pretty silly and too much fun. Thanks Hessy!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

oh the humanity

My breath is taken away on a daily basis by the kindness and generosity of friends, family and complete strangers. It's a recurrent theme in this blog, but perhaps one of the most important ones for me...the humanity, the compassion, the outreach, the selflessness, the kindness, the desire to help a helpless situation. There is a wide spectrum of human behaviour and this disease has allowed me to see almost exclusively the goodness in everyone I meet.