Friday, November 2, 2007

Put up your dukes!

No, this isn’t another post about mayonnaise or BLTs. This time I’m talking about the old-fashioned, two-fisted kind of dukes.

Ever since I found out about my imminent stem cell transplant, I’ve been ready to put up my dukes at the slightest provocation. Why the edge? I figured that, after I return home from Chicago, I’ll have just 15-waking-non-doctor-appointment hours to tackle my “Things to do before my transplant” list. And, I’ll admit, I’m a little grumpy that I’ve been rejected from the Zevalin trial.

This morning, while trying to get ready for my Minneapolis/Chicago trip, the phone rang nonstop from 8:30 am until I left the house at 9:15 am. Darn those annoying folks at the City of Hope calling to confirm appointments and prescription refills.

Once I got to the airport, the chip on my shoulder grew. As a rule, I’m extremely cordial to the good folks at TSA, particularly since my god-baby’s mom and her sister are former and current employees. But I almost lost it when an employee ripped my boarding pass from my hand after I walked through the human scanner. She was like a bully toddler yanking away my favorite stuffed bear.

“You’re supposed to show me your boarding pass,” she snarled while she bobbed her head like an out-of-control guest on the Jerry Springer show.

“There was no need for you to RUDELY grab it from my hand,” I snarled back, without bobbing my head.

“Well, that was RUDE OF YOU not to show me your boarding pass,” she hissed.

“Well, my rudeness was unintentional, but yours was INTENTIONAL,” I fumed, resisting the urge to add, "And your mama wears army boots."

“Well, you were rude not to show me your boarding pass,” she repeated. (Wouldn’t it have been just as easy for her to have said, “Excuse me, ma’am. May I see your boarding pass?”)

We were going at it like a couple of extras from “Mean Girls.”

I could see that our tussle was going nowhere fast. My inner Buddha said, “Breathe and let go,” but my inner bitch said, “Don’t let this bully get away with that.”

My inner chicken finally won out after I began to visualize myself in a federal holding tank instead of visiting “cell mates” (our affectionate name for fellow mantle cell lymphoma patients) in Minneapolis or getting Satisfaction at the Mick Jagger party in Chicago.

I calmed down after I boarded the plane, but slowly began to steam when I realized that the over sized individual in front of me was managing to recline his seat 5 degrees more than anyone else in his row. (Yes, I pullled out my protractor and verified the degrees.) My long legs needed those extra 5 degrees, so I engaged him in a push-pull tug-of-war. It was a losing battle.

Then I became silently iRate when the young man next to me played his iPod at full blast, drowning out the OMs that my inner Buddha was trying to generate.

Lunch service was no better. For $2, we Northwest passengers had a choice of Pringles potato chips or another junk food. I opted for the $5 luxury box, filled with enough empty calories and fat to sustain a flight to the other side of the planet.

We eventually landed, and I looked forward to relaxing at the hotel. But after waiting more than 40 minutes for our Hilton airport shuttle, I called the hotel. Turns out they were having “a little trouble” and advised me and the two other guests, who had flown from Melbourne (literally the other side of the planet) to take a cab.

It’s now nearly 8:30 pm. I’m less than a mile from the Mall of America, the world’s largest mall. Cindy would consider it sacrilege to choose not to travel to Mecca. But for me, a little ranting and writing therapy beats retail therapy every time. That and a perfect Manhattan, straight up.


Paula L. Johnson said...

Well, it's very clear to me what's happening.

The universe is throwing just a little crap your way so when to check into CoH, it'll seem like a freaking spa vacation.

Meanwhile, take a bubble bath. It's so much more relaxing when you don't have to scrub the tub afterward!

Susan Carrier said...

I like your conspiracy theory, Paula. I'll be ready to be "pampered" at CoH.

Lisa C. said...

A good bath and a book always helps...a lot. And believe me, you haven't lived until you've spent four months in youth hostels sharing rooms with snorers, latecomers (3 in the morning), shared bathrooms and showers down the hall, etc.:)

Lisa C.

Anonymous said...

susan it was great having you in chicago!!! howard

Piper Robert said...

All I need is a name and physical description, I'll do the rest. Your hands are clean.

Nina Catanese said...

Hello, Susan! This note is from Nina, the impromptu singer from Howard's party Saturday night. I want you to know how good it made me feel to be there singing with the Stones band, watching you enjoy yourself like a madwoman while I sang Janis and Led Zeppelin, etc. It was great to see you singing and dancing, and I am sorry I did not have time to mingle at the party and meet you and HOward;s other friends - duty called, and when you are called to rock, what choice, I ask you, does one have?

Tracy phoned me today to let me know you stopped by the frame place. Pictures from the party are welcomed!

One of my closest and dearest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. She is on round two of chemo and she is doing really well. Surgery is scheduled for January. We have been on cancer walks, cancer blogs, watched movies, read books...there is so much love and support out there, and it gives me great joy to let you know I support you! You are a force of nature, and I can tell that without having had the chance to speak with you!

You are in my thoughts and prayers for healing and a full recovery.

With much esteem,


Nina Catanese said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Carrier said...

Nina, What a treat to hear from you on the blog!

Party photos will be coming to you soon, and, with your permission, a couple will be posted on the blog.

You were one of the highlights of the party!


Nina Catanese said...

Hi, Susan!

You can post any photos you want (just make sure you get Howard's good side - you know how sensitive he is... :D )

I can't wait to see those photos! That was one of the best parties in recent memory. What a nice, warm, fun bunch of folks.

Lilli said...

You've inspired me to approach TSA next week with ohms instead of frantically running down the list of things I've probably done wrong and will get pulled aside for, making all the other passengers hate me for holding up the line.

I hope you enjoy every moment of where you are, and that the return trip is uneventful. Can't wait to hear more about the Mick Jagger party though. I'm sure that was not uneventful.

Susan Carrier said...

I have to add that I met the NICEST TSA employee in Minneapolis.

As he was sorting through the stuff in my purse, he came across a REDRUM chocolate bar, a souvenir from the Stanley Hotel. He looked at me suspiciously, and I explained about the Shining.

We chatted and he eventually asked me, "May I ask what you do?" I thought, "Oh, no, is the government now screening by profession?"

When I told him I was a writer, he said, "I thought so. You have that writer's aura about you."

That made my day.

Piper Robert said...

A writer's aura, that's awesome.

I'm glad what happens in Chicago, DOESN'T stay in Chicago. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your trip.

Love ya!

Nina Catanese said...

I figured you were a writer simply by the way you write! As a shameless plug: if you or any of your writer associates/acquaintances need a literary editor, that is my profession (the rock and roll career did not quite pan out...)

Feel free to check out our website:

I thought I'd be sharing that information while walking about the party, mingling with and getting to know Friends of Howard, but my intentions were thwarted by the band's obvious need for a singer that evening.

In other news...

Have you heard any info regarding avoiding an acidic diet? i wonder if that depends on the type of cancer. My friend Karri's breast cancer is estrogen related, and they are talking no dairy, no red meat, and no simple sugars. So much information out there, it makes my head spin. But, as they say, knowledge is power!

Susan Carrier said...

Nina, a literary agent? Now that's even cooler than being a singer in a rock'n'roll band! I know dozens of writers looking for agents.

And I recently heard about and have been researching the acidic versus alkaline diet. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Nina Catanese said...

Hi, Susan,

I am not an agent, I'm a literary editor (hope that is still cool). I do work closely with a literary agent on a regular basis, so, if you happen to know dozens of writers looking for editorial services as well as an agent, dot dot dot.

I know my agent friend is always looking for fresh and interesting books of all genres. Her name is Nancy Rosenfeld, and her website is:

My friends and I are looking into that low acidic diet. So far, here's a list of things we can eat:


Good times! Pass me a plate!

My thoughts are with you while you have your procedure. It's amazing how this cancer situation brings together so many people. What a great pool of positive energy, rallying for your good health!