Monday, November 03, 2008

Later, Cancer!

Well, I had a trip to MD Anderson last week. For the next 4 years, I have to go every 3 months for a routine check-up, MRI and x-rays. On the 5th year, it will be 6 months apart. Most cancer's post-checkups are just twice a year, but i gotta be different! My-my-my- Sarcoma is a type that likes to grow back quickly, so they have to keep a frequent eye on it.

The good news is that everything is clear! The doctors all had good reports.

In other news, this thing is costing us an arm and a, um...maybe not the best euphamism....I guess NOT costing me a leg is priceless...but, geez! Every 3 months, those payments add up.

(return to state of gratitude.......)

SO: this post is to report that i had a GOOD report!
ALSO: i have started another blog:

While i have thoroughly enjoyed, and even relied, on this space to make it through a tough time, i have come to the realization that its time to move on. I actually have days now where i don't even think about CANCER. Recently, there was a time when i didn't know if i'd be able to say that.

Although i am thankful for my experience and all that i've gained from it, i'm SO pissed at Cancer right now. I came away relatively unscathed, but "It" is still messing with people. I have a young cousin fighting it hard, i have 2 dear friends fighting it, a friend's young grandson is fighting it and another friend just lost her father to it! IT SUCKS. Cancer sucks. It's scary as hell.

Going to MDAnderson always stirs up many feelings of last year. Now, I almost feel guilty traipsing in there, with all my hair, and being able to walk myself to where i need to be. How to reconcile feelings of guilt, gratitude, fear, joy is something i've about given up on. I thought i'd have some epiphanies to share....not yet. I'm just rolling with the punches, trying to make the most of each day.

Even though, today, i'm inclined to scoff at the following, most days i find it gives me strength.
I figured it'd be a better note to end on, than my moody tirade.

What Cancer Cannot Do:
Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love
it cannot shatter hope
it cannot corrode faith
it cannot destroy peace
it cannot kill friendship
it cannot suppress memories
it cannot silence courage
it cannot invade the Soul
it cannot steal eternal life
it cannot conquer the spirit.
There, i feel better now.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

i took this off a week ago

It didn't match what i was wearing...even though there have been plenty of times throughout the year I've worn it whether it "matched" or seemed like it was time to take it off.
i put it here by the sink to remember to put it on again. It's sat there all week.

Every morning i see it and i decide not to put it on. i think about it...and my thoughts start to wander, then pool into other thoughts: "Its been a year since surgery" "When is my next appointment?" " I knew I'd screw up continuing with those exercises..." "What am i doing with my Blog...?" "What am i doing with all of this?" So, i took a picture of it....thought about blogging again.

I haven't wanted to put it away. It's true; those silly things are a regular reminder. I have a friend who wears a purple one to remind her to stay positive. Whenever she says something negative, she puts the bracelet on the other wrist. So what if she is regularly switching that thing back and forth, its a great reminder of something she wants to remain focused on.

ok...i just went to my bathroom and put the damn thing back on. I switched wrists so I'm not so used to seeing it that its lost its meaning to me. I think that might have been part of my problem all week...i had really gotten used to seeing it after a year of wearing it, and it has been easy to forget what it means. Maybe "forget" isn't the best word: "ignore" might be more on target.

So, it's been a year of milestones: a year since diagnosis, a year since first treatment, a year since last treatment, a year since Roller Derby fell apart, a year since surgery....and soon a year since rehabilitation. All year, i have forced myself to stay so busy, that i've hardly noticed these milestones. Honestly, my intent in staying so busy was this irresistable urge to make up for lost not waste another moment. Inadvertantly, i find myself in an awkward place. Shouldn't i have celebrated that Year-After-Surgery day? i really can't even say what i was doing that day...what day was that anyway?

i haven't intentionally avoided writing here, but i think My Knee-Bunion Adventures blog is about spent. What are my Knee-Bunion adventures anymore? I go to MDAnderson every 3 months for a check-up...that's about it. On occasion, I'll look at my scar and marvel at what those doctors were able to do....but i'm not moved to write about it. Really, after last year, i got tired of thinking, writing, talking, listening, reading, going through "It".

I need a fresh start. September hardly seems the time to start anew, but its a milestone for me. Last September, I felt so thankful to be able to walk! Every step was labored, but brought me closer to improvement: closer to getting "back to normal". Problem is, now that i've gotten to where i thought that was, I'm not sure that's where i should be. It feels like there is something missing. I'm pretty sure that thing is that "C" word i've been trying so hard to get away from.

"Normal Life" still includes Cancer. The Knee-Bunion is gone, but my experience remains. Shame on me for trying to forget that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

things are weird

i've been trying to pack to go to Galveston all week. I also have to pack for 2 weeks in Florida...(which is going to be great fun! Tready will turn 4 while we are there and a bunch of family is coming...a trip to Disney is in the works.)
Its thursday, we're leaving tomorrow and I still havent packed.

My week started with a phone call from the wife of a friend of a friend. She had the undesirable task of passing along bad news of our mutual friend. His family was paying their last respects and they were going to take him off life support the next day.

We found out Sunday that he was in a coma, but at that time everyone seemed hopeful that it was temporary. He had emergency heart surgery and it had been a success. Unfortunately, he hadn't had any brain activity since Friday.

Alex was our age. The last time i talked to him was almost a year ago. He was always laughing and up for a good time.

Brad said; "He probably lived 3 lifetimes in his short life."

its funny how someone who you don't see on a regular basis can suddenly occupy your thoughts non-stop. we keep thinking of times we spent together, funny things he said....and thinking about how young he was.

Life is unpredictable, folks.

Don't miss out on opportunities to tell your loved ones how you feel.
Let me seize this one: (sappy alert:)
I am thankful for all of you friends who check up on me here...even if we don't get to chat as much as i'd's good to know that you are there. I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Holy Crap! 2 posts in one day!

well....i finally found something to post about....a Grey Gardens update!


i got so obsessed with this movie last summer that i actually got tired of hearing myself talk about it. Of course, i still drop everything if i hear or see something about it...thus, another post.

Dance! Dance! Dance!

This may be old news, but its new to me. This guy danced all over the world!

14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands....
check it out; it will make you smile!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I love Pee Wee Herman

Don't ask me why, but i always have, from the very first time i saw him on HBO, when i was in Middle School in Arkansas. It was an onstage production in the early 80's, not really designed for kids, even. Maybe it was seeing a grown-up being so darn silly...acting like a kid, but having the run of the place--HIS VERY OWN PLAYHOUSE! It might have been that awesome little suit, or his goofy laugh....something about PeeWee mesmerized me and i was an instant fan. I would hold my tape recorder up(pressing Play and Record) to our big Zenith Floor TV, so i could listen to it repeatedly and show my friends.

THEN...i discovered an ad for his fan club in the back of Rolling Stone magazine. Here is a picture i found of me wearing the shirt i ordered....this is my friend and i at Myrtle Beach, SC., early 80's. (like my braces?)

I wish i still had that shirt. It was an extra large, "as was the fashion those days", and looked really cool belted with some leggings and my purple and white checked Vans. If i really felt like being New Wave, i'd roll a bandana up really tight and wrap it around my forehead. Too bad i got green food coloring all over the back of the shirt that day i tried to dye my hair at my friend's house. We thought we were so punk!! (Hey--i was in 6th grade; i didn't know the difference between hair dye and food dye yet! We didn't have our parents permission--we had to use whatever we could get our hands on!!)

I still have the autographed photo i received as a club member. The signature is smeared, from when i did the official autograph authenticity check: licking your finger and rubbing over the ink to see if its not printed on the photograph.

Of course it's really his autograph! I'm his biggest fan, don't you know?

Dear Tooth Fairy,

(I tried to scan this one but its too faded to show up.)

Dear Tooth Fairy:
Here's my tooth. My mom said you were magic, so I would like it if you would make this wish. But first I want you to know that I've wished it all my life. Here it is: Can I be magic? I've wished it on stars, eyelashes, and my birthday candles. So will you make me magic? Wake me up if you have to, I just want to be magic. ANd may I have your phone number? This is something extra good for me. IF you can, can I have a dress like yours? And a wand?
Well, I love you,
Love Kristen

The funny thing is that i remember writing this. I must have been in 2nd grade, judging from my handwriting and my genuine belief in the tooth fairy. I was still living in Hendersonville, NC and recall my room in the house my parents built.

One night i wished upon a star. I wished i may, i wished i might, have this wish i wished that night....i wished that my teddy bear would come alive when i opened my eyes. I layed there wishing so hard, i actually believed that it would happen. My excitement soon turned to concern, the longer i fantasized about this wish: i wasn't sure that he would be a nice bear...and i started to wonder what would happen if he ran away. if i got up and was chasing him around the house, i could get in trouble because it was bedtime. I didn't ever open my eyes and eventually fell asleep.

When i woke up, the bear was gone. It had actually just fallen to the floor, but there were a few minutes where i truly believed my wish had come true. Surely, I was disappointed when i found it, but i don't remember that let-down. What I can vividly recall is the excitement i had in those few minutes...magical.

Dear Pee Wee Herman

Dear Pee Wee Herman,
I am your BIGGEST fan in the entire world! ok? See, I have this "little" cat, and i named him Pee Wee, after you. Is that gratitude, or what? AND my mom said she wasn't going to pay for me to be in your club or for a T-shirt unless I worked for it. SO i had to clean out our garage. Our dogs live in our garage, and there was doo-doo that I had to clean out. IT was gross, but you're worth it, right?

ANyway, enclosed is $10.00 for a STYLE B PeeWee Herman X-TRA large T-Shirt AND also enclosed is $6.00 for me to b e in the COOL OFFICIAL PEE-WEE HERMAN FAN CLUB.

Send to your #1 FAN:
Kristen RUby
2925 Turtle Creek
Jonesboro, AR 72401