Thanksgiving, Love, and Green Bean Casserole

About 30 years ago, I got married. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve been a Newlywed. But some memories will never fade. Like how much I love green bean casserole. I have since a friend…

Source: Thanksgiving, Love, and Green Bean Casserole

#MeToo

There is another thing happening on social media about women facing harassment or sexual assault. And as always the first couple of days are filled with solidarity and kumbiya moments. Further, as the days wear on, another group shows up.

This group is the THAT’S NOT ENOUGH group.

Without much effort, they tell the women who have been sharing their hash tagged MeToo that they aren’t doing enough. Just by speaking up.

It’s not enough that they bare their wounds to the world in open daylight.

Some how, again, they aren’t enough. Their response isn’t enough.

Which is what their attackers made them feel, of course. That they wren’t enough to be treated with human decency. That they weren’t enough to be given consideration to feel secure in the physical safety. That they weren’t enough of a human even to treat with basic decency. That they weren’t enough and everything they had could be taken without asking and without impunity.

At some point, they come forward. And join in a moment to show just how prevalent sexual assault is. Then they get told that they aren’t enough. They aren’t saying enough. They aren’t doing enough. They aren’t enough.

Fuck you and your enough bullshit.

Listen, the first step to fixing a problem is identifying it. I really wish these never enough bitches had taken some basic and rudimentary science classes, wherein they might’ve learned that they hypothesis is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the experiment. Sometimes, it’s the key. Because asking the right questions gets you to the answer faster. While wrong questions gets you more hypothesis and more testing and revisions and more work.

If every woman who has been sexually assaulted says me, too out loud, that is all that is needed to highlight the pervasiveness of sexual assault. It happens everyday to every women everywhere.

Because there are people- in positions of power, positions of trust, position to help- who don’t know. Who don’t understand just how all encompassing this shit is.

Once we can get everyone on the page with this shit happens everyday and maybe we should do something about, then and only then should the next step be asked about. The what have you done for it lately crowd gets to get in the spotlight. Until then, #metoo.

It’s Been Thirty Years

This coming Monday. It will be my 30 year wedding anniversary. We eloped. And got married in a little blue church. And on Monday those vows will have been in existence for thirty years. It’s …

Source: It’s Been Thirty Years

30 Year Anniversary

Yes, someone married me.

And yes, we’ve been married for 30 years this year. October 16, to be exact. He deserves to be canonized. Seriously. He’s a saint. But then again, so am I.

Our marriage has matured with the both of us. I can’t remember a time he wasn’t in my life. We’ve been married for all of our adult lives. Which is pretty cool. And presents a problem or two.

He got to watch me grow up. With all the growing pains that entails. Sometimes, I feel jealous of couples who significant other only saw them mature or at their best. Mine got to see me at my worst, as I figured things out, as I matured into my adult self. And I got to see that for him as well.

Has it been easy? Umm, yeah no.

Our relationship was maturing along with us. Going through it’s own growing pains. The ups. The downs. Figuring things out. Forming the marriage into something good and beneficial for us both.

Am I grateful? So much.

I couldn’t imagine going through cancer with another human being. He’s been a rock. And so supportive he gives it new meaning. My recovery from cancer and the treatments that kill cancer- and me- has been smooth because of his unwavering support. Plus, he loves me and my new body. He loved me and my old body. He just loves me.

You can’t know what it means to hit 30 years with the man I have. It’s exciting, comforting, and so fucking awesome. He’s so fucking awesome.

And no matter what, it’s still the two of us against the world.

Here’s to 30 more. If my body is willing! I’d love 30 more.

Breast Cancer and Other News Update

It’s been a while. I feel like it’s been an eternity. It’s been months at least. And that’s because cancer treatments kick your ass.

No, really.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but it the treatments that’ll kill ya. Seriously, the business of fighting for your life against a vicious disease is a hard battle. And I am fatigued. But I am coming out of the fog.

My hair is the shortest it’s been since I decided I wanted to be a buddhist monk at 3 or 4 and had my mom shave my head. I tried to keep it, y’all. And if my chemo had not been the worst, most dangerous and strongest chemo around- they call it the red devil, if that tells you anything- I would’ve kept most of it. As it was, I kept about 25%. It just simply looked too terrible not to shave off into a boy cut and go all Audrey Hepburn.

Cold capping works. It just doesn’t work very well if you do the chemo I did. And then if you have a semi-formal event- like a college graduation that you can’t miss because it’s your oldest child and you wouldn’t miss that shit even if you were bald on the head and hairy on the leg- that you must attend without a baseball cap. So you go and get a nice short do. And proudly wear that shit to your son’s graduation. Proud and loud, bitches. I beat cancer.

I did. For right now. Cancer always comes back. They don’t talk about that. But it comes back. What you want is for it to not come back for a really long time, like 15 years or more. But my body scans tell the docs I have no other cancer hot spots. And the chemo plus radiation treatment plan kills rogue cells which have broken off and might be roaming free.

It’s been 5 weeks post radiation. The black skin is all gone off my chest. And almost all gone off my back. Soon, I will be back to my old self. Well, without one boob. And with a wicked fucking abdomen scar. But with my life. And my brain in tact. Not that my noggin has been much help lately. Chemo brain is REAL, yo. But slowly, I am coming back.

I attended a Master Class with Alexandra Sokoloff this past weekend. It was awesome. Got my creative brain and juices flowing. And I wrote the most words I’ve written since I started this whole cancer saga.

Anyway, here’s my new do. Hopefully, my hair grows quickly. And I am so glad this whole no hair thing happened now. If this had happened back when I was younger, I think I would’ve been completely devastated. As it is now, short hair is just another thing. I’m alive. And that is all that matters.

And here’s hoping I have many more words this week. And I want to do an update on my erotic gothic thriller story. I’ve got some ideas.

Now. I need to go write. And take supplements to try and get these strands GROWING!

I Have Breast Cancer… and other tales of horror

I’ve been really remiss in taking care of my blog for the last year. Seriously, though. The last half of 2016 was mostly just trying to keep my head above water. I didn’t have the time or the energy to devote to my blog or even basic maintenance of the site in general.

That’s what a breast cancer diagnosis will do to you. Rearrange priorities. Right quick.

I’m losing my hair. I’ve lost a boob. And I’ll probably get radiation positioning at some point. The trifecta of shittiness. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Me getting the whole package. Originally, when they first told me, I was only getting the basic package- surgery and then drugs and monitoring. But once they opened me up and took a look, it was more serious than the diagnostics indicated.

Listen, go get your boobs checked out. If you catch this shit early, you too can get away with minimal treatment. But if it’s more serious, you need the deluxe package and STAT at that. But this isn’t a service announcement for awareness.

Nope. It’s just a little heads up. And to tell what I’m doing. So. I originally had a surgery set and decided to cancel at the last moment. Believe me when I tell you that the people around you get REAL concerned REAL fast when you cancel a surgery to cut cancer out of your body. But I had a good reason. I wanted less surgeries. And the way my local surgery team wanted to do things didn’t align with the way I wanted them done. Plus, I’d found a team and surgical center willing to do it the way I wanted and who did the types of reconstructive surgery I wanted. The only downside was that I had to travel to obtain access to what I think of as THE preeminent DIEP team in the country… maybe in the world.

I wanted a DIEP flap for my new boob. I didn’t want plastic or silicon or anything foreign put into my body. Cutting cancer rout of my body was and is all about getting what doesn’t belong inside me out. Why would I put something else that doesn’t belong inside me in? The DIEP flaps allowed me to use my own fat- who knew all that baby fat was going to come in handy… and no, baby fat doesn’t mean MY baby fat, but rather, my babies’ fat acquired during gestation lol- to make a new boob. Some call it a foob. Fat boob. Fake boob. Whatever you call it… it’s mine. My new boob will gain weight when I gain weight and lose weight when I lose weight. It’s warm and jiggly and soft to the touch. Not that it can feel anything, but my hands can. And my eyes can see. One day, doctors will be able to grow us a new boob just like a new heart or lung or whatever, until then? Getting the fat cut from my belly and then shaped into a boob is about the next best thing. And the docs I flew to do these routinely. In fact, this is their specialty. They do these all the time. Which is important since DIEPs are microsurgery. Sometimes, lasting seven to eight hours for one boob and eleven to twelve hours for two boobs. And you want someone who does these all day everyday. Not someone who does things occasionally. I couldn’t be happier with my new foob.

So, I had my cancer cut out with immediate reconstruction. My local team wanted me to delay reconstruction, which would’ve added another major surgery to the two I was already slated to have just because I have breast cancer and I wanted reconstruction. My away team told me they would do it at one time and add in some extra fat to guard against the damage that radiation might do to the tissue. This was the crux of the issue with my local team. They wanted me to do radiation with a place holder in my chest- basically a temporary air filled boob. Wait a while and then do reconstruction. My away team told me they would pack my boob with extra fat and tissue so if there was any damage to the skin or tissue, the extra would take the brunt of it leaving healthy tissue underneath. And one less surgery.

I took the one less surgery.

The only thing my away team couldn’t do was save my nipple. They saved all of my breast skin, however. It was just that my tumor was too close to the nipple to get clear margins when they cut it out. This makes me sad. But I’m okay with it. Now. I realize I wouldn’t be able to feel anything anyway with my old nipple. So having a new 3-D one made later isn’t going to change things too much. But my skin was spared. So I am able to have some sensation where I wouldn’t if I hadn’t spared my skin. And maybe, over time I will get more sensation. That possibility is open to me because of the type of surgery I opted to do and the fact I invited on immediate reconstruction.

Because I opted for immediate reconstruction, I was spared the psychological smackdown of not having a boob or looking at a mangled boob. Because that’s what I kept finding. Women who needed radiation who had it with the temporary expanders who looked like burn victims. I never once looked at my foob and turned away in disgust or sadness. I look at it now and see the scar running vertical- just like a normal boob job patient, not a just a cancer patient. My scar is similar to women who’ve had plastic surgery to improve their boobs. And once the nipple is placed, it will look just like them.

Not everyone will focus on mental state or status. But I think when you are fighting a disease like breast cancer having the best state of mind is necessary. Mental status being good is KEY to kicking cancer’s ass.

Which is why I’m cold-capping to try and save my hair. It’s not working so great. In that I’ve lost a LOT of my hair to chemo. But I have hair after 4 dense dose AC treatments. And from far away, it looks like I have a full head of hair. So there’s that.

If you feel my head, it’s quite apparent that I have very thin hair right now. With patches of balding. But from a few steps away, it just looks like I have thinning hair. And from some angles, it doesn’t look funny at all.

Cold- capping is a commitment. It’s unpleasant. It’s not guaranteed. It’s a pain in the ass.

But I don’t look like a cancer patient. I don’t look like I’m going through chemo. And if I can get through my 4 dense dose T treatments, I will have walked through my cancer treatments mostly on my terms. With minimal impact by cancer.

Yes, I know I will be forever a cancer patient. Always needing to be monitored. But if I can move through my treatments- surgery, chemo, radiation- on my terms, my mind and body will do well. I’ve always believed that the body supports the mind and the mind supports the body. By making the choices I’ve made, I feel integrated thus far. And I know cancer is getting it’s ass kicked!

A good mental state is the reason why I didn’t cancel my reading in Baltimore. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a good time. I might or might not have hair at my Baltimore reading… come see me if you can, but I will have all my snark. I also didn’t cancel my erotic gothic horror over at Romance on the Rocks. I did decide to do it quarterly instead of monthly, however.  And I will have met cancer on my own terms. With a foob, thinning hair, and reading ALL the smut!

 

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 Baltimore reading

If you are in the Baltimore area next February, please stop in and see me read my totally hot short story. I might even have a photo that’s kinda of cool.

Source: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 Baltimore reading

Erotic Gothic-esque Romance

It’s about to begin. This scary thing where I do an installment a month for the next foreseeable few months. I have the first one, it’s rough. I tried to edit, but my mind isn’t a…

Source: Erotic Gothic-esque Romance

Romance, Erotic Gothic Horror, and Breast Cancer

I’ve been writing over at a group blog for the past year, so I haven’t done a full post in a while. Well, shit just got real, y’all.

First off. I’m writing a serialized erotic gothic horror over on the Romance on the Rocks blog. Well, gothic-like. Mostly, it’s set in the deep American South. Which if you think about it could be gothic horror inspired in some respects. I won’t have completely open doors because we have an all age readership over there. So, I will be using all the tools in my tool box to be erotic without showing erotic. What I might do is a companion open door portion of that story over here on my main blog. Ummm, I might have a few details to work out before September 15. I’m still gelling it in my mind so until I have all the deets finalized, I know about as much as you, dear reader.

Second, I have the cancer. Breast cancer to be exact. And no, I don’t know much more than that. I knew when I went in for the limp that something was wrong. And I prayed and hoped it was a cyst or benign in some other way. It wasn’t. So, I’m having a pity party for a day and then I’m going to get back up the next day and kick cancer’s ass.

If you know me at all, you know I don’t want any body work done. Living in LA and seeing the enormous amount of body work people got done just because really turned me off. I wanted to age gracefully. To show our young women that there is grace in aging. Or least, some semblance of it. I don’t color the gray right out of my hair. I have killer bright silver hair that looks like kick ass highlights, or at least, tinsel. I love it. And I also felt this way about the rest of my aging body. My tits have fed children. OF course, they sag. They’re supposed to at this point. But they’re still fabulous.

Well, until they betrayed me. I won’t know a treatment plan until I go see the boob doc for the first time. I haven’t decided anything yet. But the thought of getting fake boobs makes me sad. Even if I didn’t get them because I wanted, I’m getting them because I need to. Mentally that doesn’t matter. I still feel like my original life plan of aging gracefully has been stolen from me.

But I swear that I won’t let cancer not one more piece of me than I can safely allow.

Still, I will need some words of encouragement. And some patience. Because I have a feeling that a couple of my serialized installments might be late. I will write as long as I am able. If I can’t, I won’t. But writing has helped my sanity so immensely that I will cling to it like the life line it is.

Patience and Love.

What else does anyone need?

Well, maybe a little romance.

p.s. Go get your breasts squished. Go get checked out. Even if it’s for no reason. Don’t listen to anyone else. Listen to me. It might save your life.

Zucchini Blossums- Deep Fat-Fried Deliciousness

This will be the last month I do a recipe to help bring flowers into your life. I’ve always equated romance with flowers. Love of self, love for our parents, love for our “one,” a…

Source: Zucchini Blossums- Deep Fat-Fried Deliciousness