Goldfish Weight

OMG Hi. I’m alive.

I survived the end of 2020 and the beginning of its twin, 2021.

I realize it’s been a minute since I last posted…I’ve been so bad.

Like, for real, it’s been two months, and I know, I know. You’re just now realizing what was missing from your year so far:

It’s not socializing with friends…

It’s not going to the theater…

It’s not a genuine feeling of safety and confidence that the world is gonna be okay and we aren’t going to continue being killed off one by one by disease, violence, and hate…

IT’S ME.

I was missing.

What was missing was me.

And if y0u’re wondering why I’m being so repetitive and blocky and short in my phrases, it is because I would literally rather stick a pen into my eye than write in this blog right now.

BTW guess what? I have over 100 gel pens.

I’ve been avoiding this first post back like the plague (too soon?) Cuz I feel bad that it’s been so long and I know that once I start again I have to keep in a good flow or else I’ll drop off again…

So here are my excuses for going MIA:

Before Christmas I was in kind of a sad, weird “Covid funk” where I ate lots of rainbow goldfish and contemplated the meaning of life all day until my boyfriend—I’m just gonna start calling him “Matt” because I feel like a thirteen year-old every time I say “my boyfriend”—came home from work and I cried because all I did all day was eat rainbow goldfish and feel sorry for myself and he has a job.

You can ask him. It’s true.

I’m currently working to shed the goldfish weight.

Then right after Christmas we got a puppy and he’s a dream, but he’s also very needy…because he is a puppy. If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen him. A lot. You probably unfollowed me to get away, and are only reading this new post because you forgot you’re on my mailing list, and now you’re gonna unsubscribe, and then I’m gonna get a notice that you unsubscribed and I’m gonna wonder if I was mean to you in high school or in Target last week, and it’s gonna be a whole thing.

Speaking of high school, I was thinking about my senior year the other day on “World Cancer Day”…where the whole world comes together to…celebrate? Cancer?

I dunno, I’m not really sure what you do on that day so I just posted a pic of me looking pathetic and sh** during treatment and was like “this is me I am strong.”

(And like, don’t worry, you don’t have to be like, “awww Jesse is making fun of herself because at heart she doesn’t truly believe she’s strong”. That’s not the case, though. I know I am strong—I’m a proud carrier of my “cancer card” and I will always lord it over your psoriasis and seasonal allergies).

What the actual f**k was I talking about, though…

Oh. High school. Yeah I was remembering how I heard that this kid, who shall remain nameless—BUT YES, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I KNOW THAT YOU DID THIS—

This kid sold fancy lollipops in the cafeteria to “raise money for Jesse.” But I dunno, it must’ve paid for prom or some sh** because I didn’t see any of that money.

However, I am very, very patient. And you—-you know who you are—whenever you would like to a) apologize for using me and get right with God or b) pay the f**k up, I’m back in the 315 watching Cobra Kai, and anxiously awaiting your call.

**(I’m also aware of a similar ruse in the Syracuse community theater scene, although with that one, I don’t have names or specifics)

Also, guess what? I am learning self-defense. Matt is a black belt and is teaching me, even though every 30 seconds I go “owww, my ankle” in a really annoying voice.

Cobra Kai!!!

Cobra. Kai.

2021 has given me a lot of things I didn’t need, but am happy to take.

For example, I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER. Thought. “I wonder what happened to every single character in the ‘Karate Kid’ movies.”

But I discovered the answer in 2021. (I know it is technically a 2018 series. I just found it this year, k?)

And I found Russell Stover sugar free peanut butter cups, too.

Didn’t need ‘em. Happy to have ‘em!

Oh. Oh. OH. And this song about dinosaurs in love that I just heard yesterday and almost cried?

YEAH I DIDN’T NEED THESE THINGS.

BUT I LIKE THEM. I’LL TAKE THEM.

Alright, I’m gonna wrap this up because it’s not really going anywhere. I gotta go watch Sopranos. (Tony just whacked Ralphie for setting his horse on fire, and now he’s trying to pin it on New York.)

So yeah, I’ve been avoiding this post because it is the “band aid post.” It’s the “I’m sorry, I’ve been bad about posting, so now that I’m posting again, I’m gonna be better about posting” post.

Band aid ripped.

I’m back.

And maybe…just maybe

My next post will have a clear, concise beginning, middle and end.

And a point.

HERE’S DEWEY:

Dear Old Friend,

You’ll never read this, which begs the question: what is the point? 

And I suppose there is no point.  

My head has just been swirling since I heard the news this afternoon, and I thought that maybe I’d feel better getting my thoughts on a page.

Maybe I’ll light a candle and read it aloud, later.

Just this past week a friend sent me a silly meme.  He wrote, along with it, “Jess, why do I feel like this will resonate with you?

It was two of the Powerpuff Girls, their hair sopping wet, pouting at each other.  The caption: me at age 9 saying goodbye to the girl I met on the beach that I would never see again.

I laughed because it was true.  I’ve always been a sentimental person, and I remember all of my friends, however long or short our friendships—even though, many of them, I’d have no idea where to find, even with social media at my fingertips. 

The 1-day beach friends.  The McDonald’s PLAYPLACE friends.  The theater camp friend who made me snort Dr. Pepper out of my nose…my best friend from children’s choir, who loathed choir practice as much as I did.

And you, of course.  My first “boyfriend.”

Well…I suppose you never were my boyfriend—at least not knowingly. 

After learning, at age five, that it would be illegal for me to marry my cousin, Sammy, I decided to marry you, instead.

That was why I followed you around at our parents’ boring parties.  You were fun, and intelligent, and, of course, my future husband.  

You were a year older than I was, a full six years old, and so very mature in my eyes.  I considered myself lucky to have you!  I’d pick out my best and most twirliest dress to wear when I knew I was going to see you.  I had to make the perfect impression.

You knew how to pop the Pepsi can tabs at the parties without cutting your fingers, which was most impressive.  You opened mine for me, and listened to me dawdle on and on about how I was going to be the head majorette in the 4th of July parade even though I didn’t know how to twirl a baton and was a goddamned liar. 

And when I’d stop talking for a few minutes, you would teach me things about math and science and we’d run around until the adults inevitably said “slow down, you two!”

I was so sad when you moved away.  Over the next few years, whenever I got dragged to a party, I’d ask if you were going to come, and the answer became “no” more often than not.  

On rare occasion, usually in the summer time, the answer would be “yes.”  One summer, at the lake, we rode in a boat, and you showed me how to fish.  You liked a band called “Slipknot,” and at the end of the day, you gave me your screen name. I remember it by heart, to this very day.  

Then lots of years went by.  You got into a school in the city.  I got very sick.  

During my recovery, I looked you up on Facebook and sent you a message.  I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me, but you said “of course I do!  How are you, little Jesse!”

I thought to myself, maybe I’ll become a Broadway actress next year and we will reunite in the city, and fall in love, and my five year old self would’ve been right all along.

But we didn’t.  Fate had other plans.

Last I knew, you were living overseas.  Multi-lingual and as intelligent as I always knew you to be.

I live in our hometown again, since the pandemic, and I have thought of you from time to time—I’ve had so much time to peel back the pages of my childhood memories.  

You don’t have social media anymore, but I found you on LinkedIn about two months ago.  Your face is more mature, but it is still quite the same face from my memory.

I’ve only just started monkeying around with LinkedIn, and I thought, “shall I add him? Send him a message and say, ‘I know this is strange, but it’s me: Jesse.  You used to open my Pepsi cans, and I was in love with you!’”

But I didn’t.  The fragile ego in me thought “better not.  He looks awfully professional and awfully important.  He’d be far too busy.” 

I’m very sorry that I didn’t.  I had no idea you, too, were drowning in the sea of unemployment that this violent pandemic has sunk us in.

I don’t pretend that my reaching out would have changed what happened.  I just know that I’ve felt so hopeless and purposeless and just plain sad through all this, and now I know you were, too.

Maybe our commiseration would’ve brought you some comfort.

Maybe just the realization that your long lost “girlfriend” across the sea still remembers our talks and our memories.  Still remembers your screen name, and your favorite band.  

Maybe knowing, even in your darkest, most loneliest moments, that someone so long gone from your life now, still held you in such high regard…maybe for a moment, you would’ve felt better.  The smallest moment can sometimes cause the biggest shifts in perspective.

Your childhood friend loves you very much.  Even though it’s been so long, she wishes she could still reach out.  Even if it was just to say “thank you for teaching me to fish.”  

When I look back on the people in my life, you are one of my favorites.  

You’ll always be one of my favorite people.  

My heart breaks. I hope this pandemic is over soon.

Love,

Jesse

Introduction {To My Insanity}

About a month or so ago I had “Hamilton” playing in the car. And while I drove with Lin Manuel rapping on and on about “legacy, legacy, legacy,” I started thinking about what that means for all the lay-people like myself who aren’t fighting a revolution or dueling in Weehawken. Or like, writing the American Constitution.

I was struck by the idea that I don’t really know what I have to leave behind, and I’m due to be 30 years old in March.

Now, I don’t mean to be morbid. I know it’s not typical to really have a legacy until later in your life–but when you’ve been as far out on the diving board of life as I have, you start thinking about that earlier (and, of course, 2020 hasn’t really made us feel like we’re gonna live forever).

I realized, yes, I’d have friends and family who would tell stories about how smart and charming and witty I was.

And I’d have this blog (until the website bill stopped getting paid–more on this later).

But what could I have to truly commemorate my being here on this sad little planet?

Many of you have told me you think I ought to write a book, and it’s always been my intention to do so at some point in my life. I’d always imagined “at some point in my life” being “at some point when the world has discovered my genius and Simon and Shuster are offering me a million dollars for my autobiography.”

And then I thought…

Books. Internet. Electronics.

E-books.

Oh, my god, I could write and self-publish an E-Book.

And so that is what I’m going to do to commemorate my 30th birthday! Not necessarily for you, the reader. More for me, so I can die knowing I left a true legacy of “whiny white girl” behind me.

I am writing an E-Book, and you can expect it sometime mid-spring, likely on Amazon.

I’ll keep you abreast of all the deets.

“Breast.”

Ha.

So anyway, I’ve been working on it, and I decided to share today the introduction to my Untitled E-Book! I am censoring the swear words for this website because this is a family friendly blog (kind of?).

But the book is going to be uncensored and probably a bit SAUCY.

Like, the first chapter so far is mostly me musing about how the first 5 years of my life I associate with getting yelled at by my mom for having my hands down my pants.

Jesse Rose, where are your hands, young lady!?

I’m sure Freud would have something very sexy to say about this, but in all honesty, it was just very warm down there, and I found it comforting.

But I digress.

After this little sneak peak to my E-Book project, I am going to have a button that makes me very uncomfortable.

But, alas, I started this website two years ago when I had a very well-paying job, and now it is “the worst of times” and it’s time to renew my website…which costs a pretty penny.

If you enjoy my writing and find yourself financially capable of kicking in a dollar to help me renew my website, I would be forever grateful, and would honor you with a “thank you” in my E-Book, entirely separate from the page about baby Jesse putting her hands in her pants.

If you are unemployed like me, or having trouble making ends meet, please do not donate.

If you can only afford to help one cause this holiday season, please DON’T make it this one.

End of begging. I promise to never ask again. My shenanigans will always be free.

Until my E-Book is done. That’ll cost ya.

BUT, ALAS, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:

__*__

Introduction (Jesse’s Untitled E-Book Insanity)

I’ve dreaded my 30th birthday since the day I turned 25.  

It’s, like, the “thing” you do.  

You act like you’re so ashamed to turn 30 because I guess it’s officially when you start being considered “old” by “young people.”

“Ew, don’t invite Stacie…she’s, like…30.”

You know what I mean, right?  As if Stacie had a choice in the matter?

Stacie had ZERO choice.  Stacie is still the same person she’s always been, except she’s probably just BETTER and wiser and OVER your 22 year-old BS because she remembers when she was 22 and stupid. 

But I digress.

I don’t actually know who Stacie is, I made her up and I’m a little irritated with myself for spelling it “ie” and not just “y”.  Something about “a-c-i-e” bothers my eye.  

STOP, STOP, IT’S NOT ABOUT STACY OR STACIE.

It’s about how somewhere along the line, getting older stopped being cool, and we’ve just accepted it as, like, a “rite of passage.”  It’s when you start getting birthday cards that say, “WOW, ANOTHER BIRTHDAY!?” on the front.

It used to be cool to get older.  Like, remember when we WANTED to be the older kids, and go to the school dances, and touch butts under the bleachers and shit?

And like, we couldn’t wait to be old enough to walk around the mall by ourselves and buy copious amounts of thongs even though they’re about as comfortable as a bicycle seat to the vagina? (I have personal experience in this matter and it is not a pleasing sensation).

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, we get this sure sense that it’d be best to just not have anymore birthdays…

I certainly did.  As I said, from 25 on, I felt like a ticking time bomb.  Like I only had 4 more years to become “successful” and “perfect” and “beloved among my peers” before I’d turn back into a pumpkin.

Like, at age 30 I would immediately become fat and matronly and unf***able and dried up  (sorry, Ma).  

Basically, I can only describe it as this overwhelming feeling that I’d better be successful before I start the next decade of my life, because after that, I was no longer going to be beautiful and physically desirable , and therefore, I’d have trouble getting ahead in life.

Really, truly.  That is what I’ve boiled the feeling down to. It’s an old societal belief that runs so deep it’s encoded into our female DNA.

And, of course, there are a slew of other paranoias and psychological traumas that feed into it–and we’ll get to that.  

But what I’m starting to come around to–what I’m really only just starting to grasp…is that I think perhaps my entire twenties were an intricate obstacle course designed specifically to exorcise the demons of my childhood and teenage years.  

Because I started my twenties under the impression that my biggest demon was the cancer that ravaged my body for a year and a half in my late teens, and once I “got over” that, I’d be a fully formed person!  But you know what I keep hearing?

I keep hearing that illness manifests from something else.  Something psychological or intrinsic.  Something often unfelt and lying dormant.  

Like, that cancer demon?  He showed up because some smaller demons were already there, and they were like, “hey cancer, we’ve been haunting this b***h for years, and she still hasn’t caught on, so you should come check her out.  She’s got big tits and no spine–she’ll def let you take over for a bit.”

Yeah…I’m starting to think my biggest demon was propped up by a bunch of little crony demons doing Jets/Sharks dances all over my f***ing cerebellum.

But enough about demons.  Instead of falsely psychoanalyzing your own mind, grasping at straws in an attempt to put together the puzzle of your true “self,” it is widely accepted that therapy is the best course of action to work through the ash-heap of your past.

You should do this.  You should 100% go to therapy because it is amazing and even if you don’t feel less crazy when you’re done, you’ll at least feel like someone else held up the weight of your “crazy” for an hour or so.

I, however, have decided to write this book.  

This book is my new therapy.  This book is me exorcising the demons of my first thirty years, so that I may be reborn like a f***ing phoenix or some sh**, and be a sick-nasty thirty year-old BAMF (preferably one who never wrinkles and stays young-looking forever).

This book is me making it “cool” to be older and wiser again. 

It is me, giving you the weight of my crazy for 200 pages or so.  

Hope ya been liftin,’ betch.

__*__

When “What Are the Chances” Means Nothing

This week alone, I’ve diagnosed myself with three cancers: brain cancer, melanoma of the eye, and cervical cancer.

I get this way whenever I have doctors appointments. I had an eye exam yesterday, and during my last two eye exams I was diagnosed with a pseudo-tumor and a nevus of the eye, consecutively.

The latter is simply a freckle on the eye that one has keep out of the sunlight and generally keep an ‘eye’ on (ha) so that it doesn’t progress into melanoma.

The former, the pseudo-tumor, was a bit more…daunting? It presented as swelling of my optic nerve (we later learned this was likely an effect of chemo, as it occurred a month after my last treatment).

But, of course, to save the asses of the PHDs, I endured a brain MRI (LOUD AF), a spinal tap (which I strangely enjoyed), an awful medication called “acetozolomide” that made the simple task of walking up a slight hill nearly impossible, and the “Maleficent” of all neuro-opthamologists.

But brain-tumor testing yielded no brain tumor…thus, a “pseudo-tumor.” A term I only wish I had made up.

I am guilty of letting a few too many years go by without going to the eye doctor. I don’t like doctors, and I try to limit my visits to the ones that seem the most important (don’t even ask me the last time I went to the dentist). And with a make-up caboodle’s-worth of free contact lenses from my ex-boyfriends mother who worked for an eye doctor, I stretched those lenses to last until now. So…four years.

Which means, yes. The only reason I even entertained going to the eye doctor again was because I ran out of contact lenses from my ex-boyfriend’s mom. Irresponsible, I know. But I’m getting better and better about going to the doctor, and that’s all I can do.

Regardless, I was certain I was about to head into news of either a brain tumor, a pseudo tumor, or melanoma of the eye. None of which, it turns out, I have.

What were the chances anyway?

Next week I have to go to the gynecologist. Always fun. Always delightful.

And having received abnormal pap results in the past–although very common in women–I’ve been prepping myself for cervical cancer.

Silly? Yes, probably.

What are the chances?

Hmm. That’s often the phrase I’m presented with when I express on any given Monday that I believe I have a brain tumor, melanoma of the eye, and cervical cancer.

“Those chances are slim. Those cancers are rare. Besides, what are the chances you get struck with another cancer?

But that is entirely the point.

I have had cancer. And one day in 2008 I whispered to myself, “what are the chances this is nothing more than a sore hip?

The chances were slim.

But it was more than a sore hip.

Ask any cancer survivor and I’m sure they’ll agree. One of the only things worse than living with the fact that you have cancer is the feeling you had when the rug was pulled out from underneath your feet. When you’d been preparing yourself for the likelier chance, and you were granted the unlikely.

When you became the “slim” in “slim to none.”

You remember that always because it was the exact moment you lost control. You never want to lose control again. And “What are the chances” means nothing.

So, you try (however silly it may seem) to prepare for the worst in all cases. You ready yourself for brain cancer, and melanoma, and cervical cancer. Because what are the chances?

It doesn’t matter. There is a chance. And you will not lose control again.

Which brings me, finally, to the proper point of this post: you.

I’d like to ask you the question, that you–specifically those of you who’ve never faced debilitating disease before–often ask me.

What are your chances?

What are the chances that you or your loved ones will get coronavirus in the coming months?

I’ll tell you, they are a lot more likely than my chances of being diagnosed with cervical cancer next week, and yet here I sit mentally preparing myself for the worst.

And there many of you sit at the pub, or at brunch, or preparing your normal Thanksgiving feast for twenty.

I’ve mostly held back my “cancer survivor’s view” of the coronavirus pandemic in favor of the more typical one: do your part, wear a mask, rah, rah, rah, stay at home.

But now I’m here to say this. I say it not as a Democrat. I say it not as a Republican. I say it without deference or feeling for Donald Trump or Joe Biden or Queen Elizabeth or Joe the Plumber: the control you might feel you’re having exerted upon you by being asked to wear a mask is absolutely nothing compared to the control you will LOSE in the midst of serious disease.

It’s the same loss of control we, as cancer survivors, felt in the moment of our diagnosis. The same loss of control we fear so vehemently that instead of looking forward to getting a new pair of glasses, we try to be mentally prepared for melanoma of the eye.

That loss of control then gives way to a loss of dignity.

Your bodily functions, however personal or embarrassing, are now charted and monitored and are more than just your own business.

Not being honest about your last bowel movement could possibly kill you.

The color of your pee is now of utmost importance and a matter of life and death.

At least you are in isolation, so the only people exposed/interested in the consistency of your bile are the nurses risking their lives to care for you.

It’s disgusting. Yes, disgusting. And humiliating. So disgusting and humiliating in fact that you can’t help but feel as though you’re nothing more than the sum of your creatnine and bilirubin count.

You’re a biology project.

At least when I reached this point, I had my mother and father there in the room to hug me and remind me who I was.

I can’t say this would’ve been as effective via Zoom.

I’m not trying to find out.

I’m going to stay inside. I’m going to wear my mask when I can’t. I’m not going to have a big holiday celebration.

So that my chances decrease.

I have control. Of those chances.

Not total control. But some control.

I’m not an influencer. I don’t believe my little rant here will reach millions. I have a nice little following here, of which I’m grateful. No matter the walk of life you come from.

But I have no delusions of how many people I can reach with this message. I do hope, however, that some of you will pass this on.

I don’t want you to die from coronavirus. I don’t want your loved ones to die from coronavirus.

When this is all over, those who still believe that masks did nothing to help, that social distancing was meaningless…I welcome your opinions. I welcome your “those masks were stupid” messages.

And if somehow, someday, it’s proven that these precautions were without effect, I will gladly listen to your ‘I told you so’s” and I’ll even respond by telling you how right you were, but how glad I am that we were careful anyway.

Please be responsible. Please be careful. Please wear a mask even if you think it’s pointless. Please reconsider your holiday gatherings.

There is more “loss of control” at stake than just the feeling of the wind on your chin in a public place.

And your chances of knowing this greater loss grow increasingly likely each day.

Tik Tok Will Always Be First and Foremost a Song by Kesha

The title is pretty self-explanatory.

There’s not much else I can say…

My 10-year old cousin tried to trick me into signing up for Tik Tok and when I said, “girl, I do not want to Tik Tok” she said “fine, then let me use your email address to make a Millie Bobbie Brown fan account.

Like…what?

What ever happened to “Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P. Diddy?

Kesha, where are you, girl, and why aren’t you fighting for your legacy?

Tik Tok is HERS. Even the spelling.

And like, I know that was back in the Ke$ha with a “$” days, but just because you outgrow the use of symbols in your name does not mean you abandon your firstborn creation and let a Chinese company turn it into Instagram-but-if-it-was-just-little-mini-snapchat-videos“...right?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just hold a lot of nostalgia for the days of “Tik-tok on the clock but the party don’t stop, no…Oh, whoa, whoa-oh, Oh, whoa, whoa-oh.”

The first time I heard the song in 2009 was on the way home from the hospital after chemo…and I was like…wow I missed a lot while I was on the inside. This is what the kids are listening to now?

This…

This…

This new “singing”…

No, no…not singing…

This prattling on pitch

It’s genius. I, too, desire to brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack.

And I hadn’t brushed my teeth at all that year.

Kesha inspired me to brush again…

She showed me that if I could pull through this crappy time in my life then a bathtub full of glitter and watery mascara awaited me…

Afternoons filled with pedicures on our toes, toes…

Boys blowing up our phones, phones.

All of this would be mine if I could just hold on…

I’m not kidding when I say that I played her first album throughout my whole recovery in 2010. The under-rated “Stephen”….the gut-wrenching, “threw-up-on-myself-at-a-party-thus-effectively-ending-the-party” anthem, “Hungover.”

I know I’m often dripping with irony and sarcasm because I fancy myself a snobby cynic, but I genuinely mean this. These songs returned me to regular young-adult stupidity after a year and a half of big-kid trauma.

“Animal…”

“Kiss N Tell…”

“TAKE IT OFF!?!??!”

NEED I GO ON?

And that was just the first album…

And, to think, it all began with “Tik Tok.”

But “Tik Tok” means something else now…

I know I need to stop living in the past, but it’s hard. Growing up, growing older…they don’t tell you that your favorite songs get turned into apps before your very eyes and there’s nothing you can do about it…

Nothing you can do but take a deep breath and remember the good times.

Growing pains…

Kesha, I honor you, thus:

I’m sick and tired of the mess you made me
Never gonna catch me cry oh, whoa, whoa
You must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die…

–Ke$ha, “BLIND”

I Am A Staple in the Nose Hole of America

Yesterday I had a staple in my nose because the night before while I was wiping my face my nose ring popped out and fell into the sink where the water was running…

…and I just kinda stared off into space for a minute or two instead of springing into action and trying to save it. I think I was just so exhausted from literally sitting on my a$$ watching the news all week that I was just like..oh well...if you love something, let it go. Goodbye, nose ring.

And then I said well, better get the stapler. Naturally. As one does.

It’s not the first time I’ve put a staple in my nose hole and it will not be the last.

And no, I didn’t have a back up nose ring.

And yes, my nose hole WOULD start closing up IMMEDIATELY over night if I did not put said staple in said nose hole. (I bruise easily, bruises that take WEEKS to heal, but take out my nose ring for one night and my body is like “REPAIR!!!! CLOSE UP THAT NOSE HOLE ASAP this b**ch too OLD for a nose ring.”)

But I’m not giving up on my nose hole yet, so I put a staple in it overnight as a placeholder. You just clean it and slip it in the hole and then, like, bend the sides around to make a kind of boxy loop and voila! Staple nose!

The next day I went to get a new nose ring and it occurred to me just how funny this world is. Like how funny is it that somewhere in DC or Virginia an exasperated immigrant woman is pleading with the President of the United States to concede an election AT THE VERY SAME MOMENT when, in a mall parking lot in Upstate New York, a 29 year old woman is trying to force a wire hoop through her nose hole while her boyfriend pleads “JUST STOP, THE STEM IS MISSHAPEN AND YOU’RE BLEEDING, IT’S LIKE TRYING TO FORCE A SQUARE INTO A CIRCLE” and she cries—literal crying—“NO I PAID TWENTY DOLLARS FOR THIS AND IT’S “NO-SPEND NOVEMBER!”

One woman’s problem is a little bit more important than the others’ on a more GLOBAL scale, but in our two separate moments, they are both equally real, palpable, and very painful experiences.

I don’t know. Just…how very strange life is. How peculiar. As OMC says,

How Bizarre, How Bizarre.

I promise I’m not high, although I wish I was. I don’t allow myself to get high anymore since the tootsie roll incident of 2019 when I convinced myself Chris Cuomo blamed me for global warming and the aliens were coming for me because I knew too much.

It was just a funny little thought that occurred to me in the midst of chaos and nose bleeding.

I’m sure you’re all wondering, DID YOU GET THE NEW NOSE RING IN YOUR NOSE HOLE?

And you can rest assured, I did. I put the earring from my ear hole in my nose hole until we got home. Then my boyfriend used tools or science or magic or something to fix the shape of the stem. We had to lube the stem up with Bath and Body Works lotion and I can’t say I DIDN’T have pliers unsettlingly close to my eyeballs, but we DID get it into my nose hole.

That’ll teach me to buy a nose ring at a place that sells Jo Jo with a Bow Bow face masks. (Lookin’ at YOU, Claire’s).

In my defense, I was unable to go to Spencers because they (SHOCKINGLY) had reported cases of Covid-19.

This is how I know I could never be an investigative reporter. I cannot simply report to you that Spencer’s Gifts had Covid. I had to pass judgement.

“Whether someone coughed on the dildos or sucked on the edible panties, we cannot be sure. We just know we are not surprised. Back to you Stacey.”

But I digress.

So that’s where I’m at. New prez. New nose ring. Same me.

I think as 2020 goes on, my metaphors get weaker and weaker, but, alas, I am quite like that little staple.

I am a staple in the nose hole of America: misshapen and practically useless, but I’ll make it through somehow.

Fin.

The last photo before we lost this little nose ring down the drain. It was an honor to wear you.

How’s It Gonna Be: Dealing With the Prospect of Another Cancer Diagnosis

I’m a young adult cancer survivor.  It’s a label I’m proud of, but obviously a club I never would have willingly joined.

Diagnosed with cancer three months before my eighteenth birthday, it’s safe to say I was not quite a grown-a$s woman yet. So there were a lot of things I said and did…a lot of ways I responded to my diagnosis that I’d like to think I’d handle differently now that I’m almost…(gulp, inhale, exhale)…thirty years old.

Back then I was hormonal, and angsty, and ALREADY mad at the world.  Add a cancer diagnosis on top of all that adolescent aggression and you’ve got a recipe for a big-ole, bald-headed s**tshow.

I recovered…nicely…from Ewing’s Sarcoma, I suppose.  Some kidney damage here, a little infertility there.  But I learned over the years what triggers me and how to maneuver myself through the bouts of depression and anxiety that occasionally pepper my survivorship.

I do not, however, do well with the prospect of having to face another cancer diagnosis.  Through my twenties, it seemed like it would take a pretty drastic twist of the ole “magic wand” for me to get cancer again once I was clear of the usual relapse timeline.  “Lightnin’ don’t strike the same tree twice” was my creed of choice and I felt so normal with each passing year that it became easier and easier to blot cancer fear out.  

So in the spring of 2019, when my mom tested positive for one of the breast cancer genes, I was…how you say…shooketh.

Thinking I still had at LEAST a few years until my first mammogram, imagine my delight when, at my next check-up, my oncologist said that in order to be smart with the information we have, it was probably time to start mammograms and breast ultrasounds.  

OOOF.  

I don’t need to tell you that I was scared and angry and resentful.  

I also don’t need to tell you that after the scared and angry and resentful phase, I eventually got my s**t together and scheduled the tests.  No matter how many times I shouted “it’s my body, and I don’t have to do everything they say,” I knew I’d never be able to live with the idea that I might get cancer somewhere along the line that could’ve been caught much earlier if I’d been more cautious.

My mammogram was quick and easy and, thankfully, unremarkable.

Yesterday, I had my ultrasound and was anticipating a similar level of ease and simplicity.  So when the ultrasound technician pointed at the screen and said, “see this?  This is what we call a fibroadenoma,”  I thought I was going to literally poop on the table.  

She explained that fibroadenomas were common in your twenties and thirties, and that they were benign.  

“This one here is just a bit darker than the rest, so let me see how he wants to proceed…”

She had eased my worry and then slapped me in the face again with it in the same breath.

I was left on the table while she consulted the radiologist, and for the first time in eleven years, I really, truly considered what it might look like to have cancer again.  

If they say you need a biopsy, are you going to fling yourself to the floor and perform a Shakespeare tragedy in this exam room? 

If this turns out to be cancerous…

How’s it gonna be?”

In those twelve brief minutes, there were many deep breaths.  There were closed eyes.  There were speedy heartbeats.

And there were three clear conclusions:

  1. Nothing about my everyday life would change until it had to.  

In my first bout with cancer, as soon as I was diagnosed as a sick person, I IDENTIFIED as a sick person.  I EMBODIED a sick person.  I immediately got into bed or burrowed into the couch.  And I wasted no time victimizing myself.  

I lived like I was dying in a bad way.

This time, there would be no “sick-person-syndrome” until the results of all biopsies and tests were back.  And after that, there’d be no slowing down until my body truly needed to slow down.  If I had energy, I’d be putting it to good use as often as possible.

  1.  Anyone outside of immediate family and s/o who texted or called my cell phone for “updates” would be blocked.

It sounds drastic, but for me, it would be crucial.  

I truly feel like mine AND my family’s boundaries were not respected during my battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma.  I think my parents were too kind to demand it, and I was not mature enough to ask for it in the proper way.  I think we all would’ve fared better mentally and emotionally if we’d been stricter about “dropping by the house” and “calling to check in.”  

This time around, I would designate either e-mail or Facebook messenger to well-wishers/update seekers, and I would be hella strict.  I’d get back to people as I felt able to, and unless my house was on fire and they were texting to let me know, anyone who could not respect those wishes would have their numbers BLOCKED.  

  1. There would be meditation. Every. Single. Day.

I’m not a perfect meditator.  I’m not even a truly faithful meditator.  I meditate when I’m really stressed and feel like I need silence and calm.  In fact, I probably spend more time reading about meditation than I do actually meditating and it’s something I really want to work on.  But from all that reading, I’ve learned that it can truly ONLY have positive effects on your body and mind.  

It can’t hurt you.  And I’ll take any free, non-toxic, non kidney-killing, fertility-destroying medicine that I can should I ever have to battle cancer again.  

The technician came back into the exam room and told me that they just wanted to keep an eye on the fibroadenomas, and to come back for another ultrasound in six months.  

That twelve minutes of planning wouldn’t need to be practiced.  The world came back into focus.  

Do I wish I had left the building with a completely uneventful ultrasound?  Of course.

But I did leave with what felt like a solid and effective outline for battling another cancer diagnosis.  

I think even if other cancer survivors don’t agree with my list, having a little “coping” plan tucked away for a rainy day can be extremely beneficial.  There aren’t a lot of perks to having had cancer.  But knowing how you want to cope with health crises in the future is one.

For a “scan”xiety worry wart like me, it might be even more valuable than a fibroadenoma-free titty. 

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