disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Friday, April 24, 2015

the new F-word

Fuck the word fuck and all the wussy, wimpy, petty little things that come with it.

Cancer. Cancer is totally the new F-word.

I went in for a pap smear a few months ago and got a call. They found HPV, you know, genital warts. Eww, I thought. I wanted to hide it from my husband, I mea, eww, but told him. I mean, till death do us part, so he took it pretty well, until they said "follow up".

My husband jokes and calls me Misses Followup. Anyone would look at his plumper shape and my jow-the-hell-did-you-give-birth-twice-and-fit-in-your-high-school-clothing self and label him the follow up gug, but it is me.

Well over a month later, I found myself in a clinical surgery room sneering at medical oxygen tanks and scalpels and thinking, BREATHE. It did not help that the surgeon was an hour late, because bad thoughts love these empty room full of surgery equipment moments.

They put a microscope up my lady bits, a bit uncomfortable but hey I gave birth without pain meds, this procedure is my bitch, y'all.


Until, you have HPV 16, that and its bff 18 account for like 80% of cerival CANCER. Suddenly, fuck looses steam. The nurse holds my hand, pets it, gives a look of pity as the doctor does a biopsy (another word to replace fuck). I turn white.

I see a chunk of iodine-blackened flesh floating in a pee cup, and "a week or so for results"  echoes in my brain. "Abnormality, like daggers, invades my thoughts and stops my breath for a moment. I am too young. I have small childrdn Oh Dear God, I think. The doctor lets me sit there "in case I am faint" and says upon results, we will develop a plan, discuss steps. My blood boils. I pray like mad and keep my composure, somehow.

I think of facebook posts , post this if you support cancer research, lost a loved ond to cancer. Cancer was some far off idea. My grandpa died of it when I was four, but he was a chain smoking alcoholic. My other grandpa passed when I was a teen but I had only met him once, also a chain smoking alcholic. Not than anyone deserves cancer, but they kinda had a heavy hand in the roulette game.

But suddenly it was me, a mom and wife, woman in my 30s, nice dorky little Christian stay at home mom with fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Abnormalities, the type that leads to most cancer, CANCER.

I await my results. I am strong. I am  woman hear me roar (while I wipe back tears).

Cancer. It is the new four letter word.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

if only I explored Montreal

I was watching a travel show about Montreal, and most everything made me think, cool, why didn't I know that?

Perhaps it is because when I visited Montreal 15 years ago, it was (counting wind chill) both -40c and -40f, and the month I stayed there, I was both poor and shacking up with a recluse.

I did not try the Montreal bagel, or poutine, or smoked meats. I did not eat any meat, being vegetarian at the time.  I did enjoy peanut dumplings from some Chinese place, and a lot of cheap NY style pizza and falafels. I drank overprided cheap wine woth french bread. I froze my ass off.

Did you know that buildings are heated to 70-something, mandatorily, in winter? So you go from -40, your scarf frozen to your chin, your eyelashes frosted, into a sweldering indoor inferno. Your glasses fog up, even. Yet it is so cold outside, peole plug in their cars. You see medusa-like tentacles wiggling out of third story windows, a dangerous electric tangle.

I saw the Notre Dame cathedral (I think that is the name? Just like in Paris?) From the outside. I went near the top of Mount Royal, at dark in a snowstorm so I saw nothing. I walked past old town. There ends my touristy adventures.

I rode the metro and the busses, often with the poorest of poor. I saw a Vanilla Ice concert, because it was free. I sat inside a basement apartment, on a yoga mat on the floor, in utter squalor, sighing as my boyfriend at the time smoked pot to inspire some guitar playing - my anti-drug self saying, love triumphs all, yes? Whilst trying to motivate him to go to class, let alone, leave the apartment.

I stayed in Notre Dame de Grace, on a street infamous for violence and drug trafficking. I never saw anything more exciting than my boyfriend smoking pot, but I felt utterly alone, the building's tenants spoke no English or French, rather strange Russian-esque languages.

I think Montreal could be a neat place, especially not in January. A neat place if I had spare money, someone not high to explore with, and an appetite for the typical foods. Someday, perhaps, my family and I can explore the city.

Monday, April 6, 2015

if only it were a trend

Like OMG Kim Kardashian totally avoids all things gluten, and did you hear that even Miley Cyrus is "GF"? Totes!

Just shoot me.

A true condition has gone Hollywood and beyond, like all the trends before; Atkins, ombre hair, the macarena...the only dance I'm doing is to the restroom. Gluten free diets have become glamorized, the "it" condition to be afflicted with.  Who knew hypochondria could be cool? Your grandma was ahead of her time, and that time you read part of her Merck Manual, you, too were certain you both had typhoid, smallpox, multiple personality disorder, and phantom limb. Now all you need -shove granny and her Merck Manual aside, is a celebrity and bam!  That celeb is totes legit and you hashtag gluten free like no ones business, you trendsetter.

All the marketing and celebs aside, being gluten intolerant or having Celiac Disease is anything but hip and cool, glamorous, fun.

Here is where I "totes go tmi" so if you have a squeamish side, don't read my next spiel.

When your ankles and calves itch from the inside to where you bruise yourself just trying to soothe the itch, and you get covered in dermatitis herpetiformis (nothing with herpe- is pretty) scabs and look like the local herion tweaker, you think to yourself....I doubt Kim looked or felt like this. When you have four days of sheer liquid stinky oily diarrhea with specks of fresh blood and you can't leave the house let alone the restroom, you think, fuck you Kim Kardashian. I hope your trendy celeb gluten free diet blows chunks. Literally. I hope you get some karma and end up actually with celiac disease you whore.  Sorry. Four days of diarrhea have made me have no tolerance for much of anything let alone someone hawking some trend.

Why? Because then when you tell someone, sorry, I can't eat that sandwich or, excuse me, can I check the ingredient list for wheat? People Either roll their eyes or nod, yeah, like I totes lost ten pounds cutting out gluten no wonder you're so skinny!

No. I am skinny because my body decided to react to gluten and make my intestinal villi not wiggle. I no longer absorb nutrients, so I am in a sense one of those famished malnourished third world folks you see on TV except I have plenty of food to eat and medicines at my disposal. It just so happens, no medicine cures my problem and your cupcake there is a delicious death sentence.

Some people will treat a GF diet as just that, a diet. "Dude, it's Chrissy's baby shower, c'mon you can have a cheat slice of cake, it's a celebration! "
"Tee hee, I'm on a diet too but YOLO right? And those Christmas cookies are to die for so what d'ya say, let's have a few and hit the treadmill tomorrow, m'kay?"

No. Just no. It is NOT a diet. One little cookie isn't gonna disappear on the treadmill, it will render me stuck on the toilet, crying, itching my bruised scabby ankles as I pop another immodium, wailing "whyyyyyyyyy?"

I do admit I am human. I suck. I thought, hmm, maybe it is all in my head. Maybe it is a phase. Screw it. I want an In N Out burger and hey look pierogies My favorite! Sure I will have a bite of your pizza, yum!

And I ended up the next day at my pre-scheduled physical, trying tp stay seated (not laying down in fetal position), eyes open, to talk to my doctor. Stupid wheat. But...but....doctor, why? Why did my blood test give a negative for A wheat allergy and Celiacs, when I suffer like this with wheat? Why does the elimination diet work if the blood work, my medical record, says I can have all the killer brownies, crusty french bread, fettucine, pierogy, naan bread I could ever dream of? It seems to all be in my head since it isn't in my record but heeeeeeelp I am suffering.

Luckily, my doctor rocks. The only reason I have stayed with my very crappy, neglectful, wait over six months to see anyone medical network from hell is him. He actually listens to me. We have actual discussions. A visit isn't "temperature, blood pressure, how ya doin', here is a prescription, crap I spent three minutes with you, must hurry to the next patient". Nope. My recent visit lasted 25 minutes - a minute or so for weight and blood pressure and stuff, and the rest, discussion.

Where am I going? Hello? Tangent anyone?

He said, well you are healthy as can be except for adrenal fatigue (stupid network refused to renew an asthma steroid, sending me into a very bad place called adrenal fatigue) and gluten. (But doc, it says I am cool with wheat). Apparently, if you take an allergy test or celiac test but have not had wheat, you get a false negative result. The only way to "prove" your gluten problem is to gorge yourself on wheat and then take a blood test while having gluten allergy issues. Since they don't draw blood while you are on the pot for obvious reasons.... My test results were wrong. Let me clarify that the test had been done when I was NOT eating wheat, because I knew better than to eat it and suffer. At this very appointment I had had a lapse in judgement and decided wheat was a delicious food and screw it that fluffy burger bun and those pillowy pierogies and that spicy saucy pizza HAD to get into my mouth pronto. And my doc and I both agreed adding a bloood draw to my already miserable adrenal fatigue, seasonal allergies, and gluten death was a bad idea to simply prove what I already know - Gluten hates me.

So. As I write this, I still dream of certain wheaty foods. I know, I know part of the whole commercialism thing has made GF foods totally popular and accessible. Yippee! But nothing will replace the crusty european sourdough rolls I love to dip in soup, and most GF bread tastes like cardboard or some really sad remake of white bread (which is ick to start with), but luckily there is pao de quiejo cheesy bread rolls. I will miss my pasta machine, and rice pasta tastes like nothing (so much nothing that it takes away flavor, like a black hole, suddenly your bolognese on buttery fettucine becomes not bolognese on gluten free rice noodles, but, red colored wet air.) Luckily corn pasta works, for spaghetti, but I still want my penne pesto and butternut squash ravioli and pierogy. And don't get my started on quinoa as a replacement. I hate quinoa. There. I said it. Ive tried to love it (nutty, seedy, hell I could eat my weight in sesame and sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds...) but somehow it is just....no.

To conclude my long winded manifesto, hi. My name is _________ and I cannot have wheat. Any wheat. If you roll your eyes at this inconvenience, or hand over a "cheat cookie" with a wink, or tell me how you are on it too, just like Kim and Miley, I won't hold back. I will give you every bloody detail of my diarrhea and dermatitis herpetiformis and give you nightmares.

Cheat cookie my ass.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

going home

I remember her curls, unusually tight and a strange melange of copper and silver, clinging to her lifeless head as they wheeled her into the bedroom. Sure, she was alive and somewhat breathing, but she was a ghost in a shell of sorts, in limbo between this world and the next, her appearance even different as if part of another reality. No longer did I see Grandma Val circa 2015 but some strange scarecrow version of her, crafted by a stranger. She was just a vessel.

My dear "Nanny", my Grandma Val, resided on this earth for almost 94 years. Multiple falls and infections tried to pull her away, pneumonia and a heart attack rendered her to the unrecognizable vessel I saw but a glimpse of. Hospice took over, and she stayed here in body for two more days. But she was already on her way somewhere else.

The wedding was when I glimpsed this shell of a grandmother, holding on to one last precious memory. Hours later, her oxygen stopped and so did her heart, but she was revived. She clung to life long enough to talk to her son she hadn't spoken to in a year or seen in dozens, my father. Mere hours later, she made the transition.


She went home.

My cousins and uncle said she was cognizant until the moment of death; she knew she went to a wedding and recognized attendees in the photos, knew she spoke to her son. But no one could convince her, as she lay in a makeshift hospital bed at home under hospice, that she was home. No familiar object or person could quiet her request: "I want to go home".

At 11:30pm March 17, my dear Nanny got her wish. She went home. Rest in peace my dear. You are missed but not forgotten.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

microstory: whose side are you on?

On the edge of the precipice
darkness stewing
the light quietly whispers against the smothering black which cloaks itself in familiarity
 a weapon of comfort
the shackles are but life, it says
while the light shines from afar
 of which I yearn

Monday, March 2, 2015

microstory - succubus

The rum's all gone
Conversation's over
I told you no
How you hurt
How you suck the life out from me
You used caveats and excuses
And distorted it all
Twisted my mind
The bottle's dry
I yearn to heal you

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Surprise, I brought you flowers

The eighty-degree February sun glistened on the wet grass as we slowly drove around the cemetary and approached the masoleum. That's when i realized she was in there. Somehow, walking atop the dead is fine but a whole building full of them is nightmarish to me. I could not turn around now.

"Isn't this a bit morbid honey? Sure you want to do this? It is kinda....dark...all these ancient graves, with the kids, on a sunny day...."my husband's voice trailed off as me saw me stifle a grimace at the sight of the masoleum. I slowly opened the car door and slowly mumbled, "ok then I will be right back gimme the camera."

"What? You? Go in alone? By yourself?!?! The kids and I are coming. You can'tvgo in alone, you morose girl you" exclaimed my husband. So we all slowly ascended the stairs and walked into a silent, hot and stuffy, marble and brass sarcophagus. It's a sarcophagus, right? A giant stone tomb. Names of people long gone, some forgotten, were written on plaques in every direction. My children, young and innocent, ran around and enjoyed their voices echoing off the walls, reverberating and brwaking the austere mood of the place. I squinted and scanned the walls and couldn't find her. Little brass vases held dust and cobweb covered fake plastic flowers on some plaques, a place time had forgotten. About to give up, I found her tucked in a corner. The light filtered in the windows, light and shadow playing, my son chasing the reflections. "This is kinda weird uh....I will take the kids, do your thing but hurry" my husband whispered, as he rokunded the corner and made his way down the hall.

How do you do this? Why must so much of my life be so unscripted? There's no "situation x y z for dummies" book on most topics I encounter in life.

"Hi, Selma. You are my morsmormormor, my great great grandma. You were born in Sweden. Your daughter, Selma, had a baby. No one knew. She is my grandma. so I am  your relative too. Hello. Sorry for the surprise. Uhh....bye." And with that, I turned to leave, hoping I didn't upset her. I mean, what if she never even knew this huge family secret? Or what if she spent her life hiding it and here I come all, hey, your daughter did some naughty things and the secret's out, here I am! Or what if she knew and had always wondered? Man. I should have brought a photo of her grand-daughter. Or should I....

My thoughts were interrupted, and I stopped in my tracks (so much for a hasty escape) when my husband asked, "smell that?" I sniffed and smelled a floral scent, Easter Lilies to be exact. "Yeah, so? It's a cemetary. People bring flowers" I retorted. "Yeah, but do you see any flowers? Any real flowers? And did you smell them before? " I nodded no and looked back towards Selma's corner, and grabbed my son's hand. "Let's go home" I proclaimed, leaving Selma and friends behind. Who knows. Perhaps she (or someone else) tried to make a visit, it is often said certain strong scents can be a sign of the supernatural.
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