Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to Pole Dancing

Friend Anna helps hold down Puss while I prepare the needle.
A bag of fluids on a makeshift IV pole brings me back to my pole dancing days.

There's nothing quite like a feeling of accomplishment. I felt that when I first mastered the art of dancing with my two-left-wheeled IV pole partner when I was a patient at the City of Hope.

And I felt it more recently when I found myself in the reverse role of caretaker. My aging and cantankerous cat Puss needed fluids administered through the skin on her back. Each time I prepared to pierce her flesh, I repeated my new mantra, "It's only skin. It's only skin." When I managed to jab the needle and then hold her still for five minutes (with the help of my friend Anna), I felt a sense of relief. The second time, when I did the deed solo, I felt a genuine sense of accomplishment.

Now I'm about to do another fear-inducing act with a pole. A new friend who's organizing a fund raiser for Be the Match has asked me to do the pole dancing skit that I created three years ago for The Big C. And, just like I knew that poking the cat with a needle was for a good cause, I'm going to shed my fear because 100% of the evening's proceeds will assist with adding new potential bone marrow donors to the Be the Match registry.

I hope you'll join me on Friday, August 26, for a fun evening of wine tasting, appetizers, a silent auction, music, a beautiful and historic Pasadena venue and, of course, some pole dancing.

You may purchase tickets online at www.bethematchfoundation.org/winetasting

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feeling Guilty?

I've been suffering
from blogging guilt, gardening guilt and grapefruit guilt. At least there's a cure for the last one. Read all about it at Open Mouth, Insert Fork.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

She's Back!

It's been more than six months since I last posted on Cancer Banter. If anyone is still reading, you may have assumed one of three things: I was a) dead b) alive but sickly or c) alive and well.

I'm happy to report that the answer is "c," alive and well. After a year of non-stop colds, flus and pneumonia, punctuated with stomach ailments and plummeting weight, and culminating in a fractured hip and the death of my father, I'm back. Back to my goal weight, back to my old (before cancer) energy level and as close to feeling as "normal" as it gets.

But enough about me.

I'd like to introduce you to Jeanne, the Assertive Cancer Patient. She's taught me how to be assertive without being obnoxious, how to be your own best advocate, how to question everyone and everything, how to make arrangements for your own end-of-life hospice care and, most important, how to embrace life whether you have six months or sixty years to live. I'm proud to count her as a friend.

Jeanne has incurable, metastatic breast cancer. A year ago she and her doctors concluded that she had come to the end of her treatment options. That's a euphemism for "that's all folks." Enter T-DM1 - a miraculous new drug available in a clinical trial. Jeanne was lucky enough (or perhaps plucky enough) to enroll in the trial and, for the first time in more than a dozen years, is in remission.

But here's the catch. Jeanne must travel from Seattle to Southern California every three weeks to participate in the clinical trial at a hospital in Highlands. The travel schedule has taken a toll on her physically, emotionally and financially.

The drug will be available at a clinic near Jeanne in September, but, in the meantime, she must make four more trips to Southern Cal to receive this life-extending drug. She has managed to raise more than $3,200 in the last few weeks, but she needs just a few hundred dollars more to finance the trips.

Can you spare $10, $20 or more to help make this happen? She's fought for and won the privilege of staying in the trial. She's fought for and won the ability to receive the drug in Seattle in September. Let's not let her have to fight to raise the money necessary for travel expenses.

Click HERE to contribute to Jeanne's Travel Fund.

For every $20 donated, you will be eligible for a drawing for this beautiful Chinese swan necklace created by Jeanne.