Remission vs. Cure

I guess there's a magical pill called Gleevec that keeps your cancer in remission. I'd never heard of it. For people with chronic cancers, like leukemia, something like this can be a godsend. For people like me, with basal or squamous cell carcinoma, it doesn't matter. We don't need chemo, radiation, or pills. We're lucky. We don't wear pink ribbons because “it isn't that bad.” We don't get terms applied to us like “chronic,” “invasive” or “melanoma.” We're told “We caught it early, so the future's bright.” And we just wait for someone to hack it out and move on, hoping that in five years it's over.

I never really thought about the difference between being in remission and being cured. No one ever told me there was a difference. I just keep going back to my appointments every three or six months, getting my boob squashed on a plate, having an ultrasound, or getting a needle stuck in and hoping my insurance will cover it.

I do know that in one year I'm allowed to have the “cured” stamp put on my medical records. Whatever it really means, I don't know. The doctor's office called to remind me of my next appointment and suddenly I started to feel sorry for myself.

Rumination

So I've spent the past week ruminating over some variables that were introduced to an already-frustrating equation. The wonder that is the Internet has lent to me more information than I really wanted to have about a prior relationship that I have spent a year and a half trying to forget. Not to mention the time spent in the relationship. And by “relationship” I only mean 'the state of mutual connection two people can share.'

After mulling over the new information I've come to the following conclusion: some people will go to incredible lengths to not have the “icky” stuff – who and what they really are – exposed if they can help it.

I'm imagining a scenario at a dinner party where a friend's comment leads you to make a joke about a potentially embarrassing, but laughable, moment you shared with the friend. Suddenly that person kicks you – hard – under the table. You look up, your eyes meet, and the other person is desperately motioning for you to drop the subject. Of course, you have no idea why. You've talked about it before. It's been highly entertaining conversation in the past. Now you're not allowed to bring it up. Because someone else at dinner doesn't think your friend is the kind of person who would “do that.” Whatever “that” is.

Well, rather than actually have to experience anything like that, some people just run away and hope they never cross paths with you again.

I suppose it's easier to cut and edit almost a decade of your life to suit yourself and the “new” life you'd like to create than it is to be honest with yourself and your actions. You have the option of divulging information only how and when you want to, without the potential of being exposed in an unflattering way. Whether the other person means to sound judgmental or not isn't the issue. It's all at your discretion and on your exclusive, passive-aggressive terms.

I've also realized that there are two things that have been gnawing at me all this time. One, that my own actions didn't amount to “good enough” for someone else and, hence, my existence has been whittled away to, most likely, a series of incorrect anecdotes where the other party is a Victim over and over again. Second, that I give up any of my time and energy thinking about someone who is basically worthless in my eyes. After coming to the above conclusion, and writing about it now, I haven't really thought about any of it. And I'm glad. My revenge is my own personal success, not some childish note, shitty email, or punch in the face. It's growing as a person, understanding myself, learning, and having healthy, adult relationships with people with whom I share intimate connections.

No, I'm not perfect and I'm not saying I take no blame for the situation. Without going into all the details, I think it's important that you know I'm not innocent. If anything, though, it was my being too naive and trusting to do anything when things started to take a turn downhill. But I've run the emotional rollercoaster through and through. I'm done. If anything, what I feel now is just pity.

My only hope now is that the image that's been created is one that will actually stick, that a person can actually grow into their own lies.

Finished?

Update from 7/15/2007: The photos originally posted here were linked from my Web site which has since been taken down due to lack of interest on my part. I am trying to find and host the originals.

So I finished the two totebags I was sewing. I sort of ruined the surprise for Annie (if I give her the grey felt one. It wouldn't be a very good Christmas present. On the other hand, I'll probably just give it to her but with some goodies stuffed inside). I hand-stitched on the pocket and button, but used the machine for the red stem. I don't know why I used that color. I also don't know why I made the flower petals square. I just didn't want it to be the exact same thing from the book. I didn't use a pattern because I don't understand them.

I finished putting on the flower, pocket, handles, and added a button to the center of the geometric flower.
The one I might give Audrey has handles (I folded up some strong red ribbon and zigzag-stitched it in half), but I haven't put on a pocket. I'm not sure if I will or not.

Afterwards I went to sit on the couch and watch the new “Family Guy” when I found this:

Oh, and since I'm uploading the crap out of photos right now (in the hopes of updating my site . . . someday), here's one my Aunt Vicki took on Thanksgiving. The hair's pulled back (as always) so you can't see how long it is (down to my shoulders), and Charlie refuses to shave the beard until he loses ten more pounds. I don't like the beard. It's scratchy. Oh, and I call that my “Is this too Little House on the Prairie?” top and sweater. You can't see the awesome jeans or boots. But, oh well. By the way, in case you didn't know, I hate having my photo taken. The one Vicki took right before this, my uncle Chris was standing behind us making a silly face, so I was actually laughing. It's unusual to see my teeth in a photograph.

What I Did Today

So after the trip to Lowe's and the subsequent feverish shop-vac'ing, we ate some La Piedad, returned “Over the Hedge” (amusing but not that great), got a couple of items I needed to finish Scott & Jay's homemade Christmas presents, and I set to work.
I put some personalized touches on the two items and set them aside. Some football game or another was on so while Charlie was deeply immersed in that I finished (for the most part) two handbags. As you can see I still have to sew on the pockets and handles. One I think I'm going to give to Audrey at work because she seems like a red-and-cherries kind of gal. The other one is a revamped version of the original attempt at making a tote bag for Annie. Click for larger image:

I decided that I want to try and use my machine's embroidery foot and get some floss to personalize Cavan's stocking. I'll definitely need to practice. But I also want to use that feature for pretty much all five-so-far of my homemade gifts. Oh, and another thing we did today: decorate for the holidays. I've had most of the same decorations for as long as I've lived with people who like to decorate for Christmas. I, personally, would never put up anything if it weren't for these people and their holiday f-ing spirit. Cavan helped trim the tree and Charlie put up all of our blue lights. We listened to something really Christmas-y: Daft Punk.
So our stockings are in alphabetical order:

Alvy, Cavan, Charlie, me, Ranma (and Andouille, but I liked the pet stocking better up top), and Trinity. I'm missing the photo of the kitties I used to have in there, so remind me to print one out and replace it.

Random Observations

I woke up yesterday with the threat of a migraine looming over me. It didn't come to a head until almost 4 in the afternoon. After an hour I laid down, took some Excedrin Migraine, had a couple shots of espresso in water and waited for it to pass. For the second time in the past couple of months I was nauseated. I used to be happy that I didn't throw up with my migraines, but last time I did. I'm not happy about that.
I realized afterwards that my migraines are like nightmares. Or car accidents. Or giving birth. Once it's all over I can't believe it really happened.

In Lowe's today we found a $70 Shop Vac on sale for $29. I never really appreciated the “after Thanksgiving” sales people go on about until today. I swept the holy hell out of the entire house, every nook, cranny, crevice and corner. I can't believe that after seriously cleaning yesterday there was still enough crap to fill up a third of a 12-gallon canister. GROSS.

Also in Lowe's today an eight-year-old boy was more considerate than his own parents. We were trying to make it past them with the giant Shop Vac box and they pushed their stroller right in front of us. Charlie said “Excuse me,” and the little boy came around from the other side of his parents to move the stroller. What a sorry state of affairs, when your parents are so engrossed in looking at paint chips that you have to move your baby sister out of someone else's way.

Thanksgiving was decent. Food was good, as always, but I'm not looking forward to the trip up to my maternal grandparents' tomorrow. Not just because it's the day before I have to be back at work and school and noses are shoved against grindstones, but for several other reasons. My mom's brother in law just passed away a few months ago. His wife, my mom's sister, is stuck taking care of two illegitimate grandchildren, a son who's been diagnosed with schizophrenia, another who's in prison for a decade. My mom's other sister is getting divorced but doesn't want to tell anyone about it. My grandparents are getting worse and worse. My grandma can't get around well at all anymore and has to use a cane or walker but won't, from what I understand. Oh, and my grandfather blacks out when he's behind the wheel of a car. But don't try to talk with them about the possibility of even thinking about getting information on a retirement home. I guess my dad broached the subject delicately last year and next thing you know the whole family is under the impression that he's trying to have them declared incompetent and have them shipped to a terrible nursing home where they'll be beaten, raped, and robbed.

I haven't the faintest idea how I'm going to get the rest of my Christmas shopping done. I just deleted the paragraph I wrote about who I have left to shop for. a.) Because I know you don't care and b.) because I don't want to think about it anymore.

What I Saw On the TeeVee.

I had a really great idea for a post idea. When I opened the window and signed in (LiveJournal doesn't “remember” me anymore), my brain dumped the idea. So instead I chose to relax that muscle and space out in front of a crappy magazine and an old James Bond movie. As far as I'm concerned, it's Sean Connery or nothing. I don't care what anyone says about the new guy or his chest.
I can't flip past any news channels that weren't going on about Michael Richards and his rant. I care very little about that situation, for some reason.
Unfortunately, during a commercial break I stumbled across the new “Real World” in Denver. I swear it was just a few seconds, but what I saw was horrifying. Bascially, all the drunk kids were playing Truth or Dare. Let your imagination take it from there. What happened? I mean, I'm not saying this show was ever any sort of pinnacle. I'm just saying it's been nothing but a bunch of drunk 21 year-olds fighting, having sex, and drinking in an expensive house for, like, seven or more seasons.
Then I came across a “Thanksgiving feast” mutually prepared and shared by all of Food Network's popular chefs: the “Bam!” guy, Alton Brown, Paula Dean, Rachael Ray, and that Giovanni Ribisi woman whose pert breasts seem to be of more interest than the actual food she's preparing. I know that's not her name. Her real name, however, escapes me. I just recall that it sounds somewhat like a disease and she has an incredibly large head. Oh, and both she and Rachael Ray show entirely too much teeth when they smile. It feels insincere.
Next I came across “Clean House” on the Style Network. I was disturbed to discover that my former favorite hosts are no longer on the show. Niecy Nash is still there, and the gay designer Mark, but both the organizer and the cute yard sale guy are gone. This makes me sad.
Skip past Animal Planet as I hear the words “rescued these two starving dogs . . .”
And it appears “Futurama” is on.

So, since it's a holiday in an hour or so, I'll say that I'm thankful for that show and the fact that it's being put back on the air in, what, a year and a half?

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One of our employees begged me for my morning shift today. He'd gone home early on Sunday and was scheduled less hours than usual, so I think he really needed to make up the time. He was there when I went in with Charlie on his way to work, but it appears our new assistant manager has white spots all over her throat and she sounds horrible. She said she was just getting ready to call me to see if I wanted my shift back. Of course I don't relish the idea of working on a day off, but I had no plans to do anything other than return a shirt that's too small. Plus, I have another four days off in a row for the holidays and I need the money. Sarah covered for me when I was sick back in March from an infection and ended up having my wisdom teeth out. I owe her. I think I'm going to go in, just to be nice, and not to be a pushover. It's nearly impossible to call in sick at work because we have a total of about 8 employees, so most everyone is working on any given day, or it's their day off when you don't feel well.

Flickr

I'm still in the process up updating doing nothing to my web site. One of the main things I want to do is start uploading photos more often at all. So I started this Flickr thing. I know I'm really behind the times as everyone's using them. But I had very little luck finding the HTML to add one of those photo bars that runs across, say, the left side of your page. I'm still stuck in the indecisive mode. Do I want to get rid of the site, keep it, do something else, leave it the same, delete some pages? I am definitely not the type to have a “Real Blog” as my main site as I can't bring myself to write about much of value all that often.

I changed the layout on LiveJournal, though, because the last template I used wasn't letting me do anything I wanted. It completely deleted my links, and I want everyone I read to be enjoyed by other people, as well.

Just wanted to share.

Growing Pains

So this is a photo of part of my first floor. Originally, when we'd looked at this house, I expected to turn the back room into a breakfast nook. After determining that everyone got a special little room besides me, I decided to turn it into my office/study area. We found a desk someone was selling for $25 and moved it in. A few months after that I purchased a refurbished sewing machine from Overstock.com for literally a third of its suggested retail value. I got a lot of bells and whistles that I still don't know how to use, but I'm reading the guide here and there so I can better understand what the features will do for me.
So I realized today that this really neat little nook off the kitchen is no longer satisfying my needs. It's now working as an office, a study area, a place to hold all of my textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, printer, paper, work-related stuff, a sewing room, a place for baskets to house my fabric scraps, as well as all the little things I've picked up here and there; good scissors, tape measure, ruler, pencil sharpener, chalk pencil . . . not to mention other art supplies. The room itself is probably about 6'x6', although that may be an exaggeration. I think if you laid Charlie down flat from wall to wall, he wouldn't fit. So it's probably not even that big. As you can see from the photo above, there's the living room, the dining area, and off that is the kitchen. The tiny room you can barely make out in the back right is my office. Click for a larger image and see if you can make it out.

It's so weird how you can go from one place to another and, despite not having a lot of extra money, still accumulate an extraordinary amount of “stuff.” I used to have just a bedroom to call my own when I lived with my folks and then first began renting with housemates. Then I had my own 400 square-foot studio apartment, then a 700 square-foot one-bedroom apartment. Then we rented a small double, 900sqft. Then we got a larger house, about 1200sqft. And now we're in this one. Where does it all come from? How can I be outgrowing a 1,700 square-foot 2-story house with three bedrooms, two offices, two bathrooms, and a basement for storage?!

I think it's time to consider downsizing again. Not the house, of course, but the junk in it. I'm not a big fan of clutter. I wish everything I owned could have it's own safe little home, where it would go sit neatly and quietly until I was ready to pull it out again.

Beginning to Craft

So I have officially made one thing with my sewing machine and screwed up another. The [insert secret gift here] for Scott & Jay came out well. The not-so-secret-now-because-I-showed-it-to-her gift for Annie went horribly wrong.
Today we went shopping for (and I shudder to use this term) craft books. I didn’t have much luck as there wasn’t a whole lot that revolved specifically around “holiday crafts” that wasn’t hiedous. And if it wasn’t hideous, it was expensive. So I ended up with a $5 “everything sewing” book. I figured, if nothing else, it wouldn’t hurt me to understand the basics. After explaining how to thread and clean your machine, and going over the essentials of fabrics and threads, the book gave some good advice: try practicing first.

Wow. What a novel idea. Why I thought I would be an expert the first time I slipped a piece of fabric underneath the needle, I have no idea. The [super-secret gift for Jay & Scott] only looks as good as it does because I sewed the “right” sides together. When you turn things around, the stitching is hidden. As long as no one goes ripping anything I make apart, they won’t know that it appears someone with vertigo was playing on my sewing machine.

I’ve decided to back up just a few steps. No more attempts at huge projects. Each day this week I’m going to just practice sewing straight lines on scrap fabric. Each time I’m out and about I’ll pick up some fabric for future ideas. This year may not be an exclusively homemade holiday for all my friends and family, but I hope by this time next year I’ll be stitching the hell out of really thoughtful crap.