The Leotard

I’m back at the Chemo Cafe for round 7 of 12.  Today it’s usually quiet, except for the sound of pumps beeping and nurses explaining in very soft voices what drug their starting you wouldn’t know where you are.  I should be comforted by this lull but in truth it reminds me how frail a chemo patient is. The slightest sniffle or scrape to the knee can upset the whole applecart. A simple infection most people shrug off can become life threatening to anyone with a compromised immune system. Usually chemo must then stop to treat the \infection and give the body time to regroup. Personally, I find the thought of stopping the chemo for a minor infection horrifying. The relationship I developed with my chemo, my hero, my savior, my reason for 22 days a month of hell is helping me to live to see important life events we all look forward to. Chemo is like a giant hug from an elderly Aunt who uses too much Jean Naté.  You want the hug and the love that goes with it and hopefully some jewelry and a Chanel Bag down the road but holy cow!!! The smell is unbearable but we do it anyway.

You might have read in the news about a blood test to detect pancreatic cancer. These tests are currently in the clinical trial stage and researchers are hoping it will prove to be useful for other types of cancer. I’m thankful their are people who agree to be a part of any clinical trial, but very often the people involved in these trials are there due to the fact that conventional treatments have failed them. They are reaching out to find the one thing that will save them.

I recently had a heated debate with an asshat from Malaysia who sent me a message in Facebook peddling his “cure” for cancer with barley tea!! Imagine that!!! Barley tea will cure cancer, diabetes, pulmonary disease AND will whiten and brighten your teeth. All this in one lil measly tea bag for the groundbreaking price of $19.99 usd a box.  I guarantee Ron Popiel is kicking himself right now.  I won’t go into the gory details and prolific use of swear words only a girl from Queens can hurl, but Mr. Barley Tea won’t be bothering anyone else on Facebook. The number of people preying on you in a group support on Facebook is mind boggling. I’ve been petitioning Facebook to ban these people on the grounds they pick those who are the at their most vulnerable. People who are looking for anything that will cure them, may give this barley tea a try despite it being not FDA approved or approved by any cancer research group.  I’ve had no success yet but I’m not giving up. I’m obnoxious that way…..

 The Leotard                                                                                                                                       The leotard as we now know it was popularized by the famous French acrobat Jules Leotard (1842-1870) who called the garment a ‘maillot’, a word meaning tight fitting garment. However, it is suggested that the leotard’s true origins lie a century earlier when body stockings were favored undergarments for the popular diaphanous Roman gowns of the time. It was not until 1886 that the garment came to be called a leotard, after Leotard himself. (Gymnastics.com).  Putting on a leotard always felt like a hug to me. My parents were not from the touchy feely tribe and so a hug to me was always special, even if it came from a very unflattering garment. I always wore a black leotard. Frowned on by my dance teacher as morbid and not appropriate, I used the excuse we couldn’t afford the pink ones but truth be told, black was my thing even back then…

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Blog Filler

I thought since I have so much time at The Chemo Cafe on Mondays, about 7 hours of chemo, I would show you a few pictures of my perspective. The scene never changes so I could take new pics each week, but they would always be the same. It would be nice if the room color changed or the radio station was different. Tears for Fears is getting old. This is kind of like watching Ground Hogs Day

 

Fifth Position

Playing “The Waiting Game” happens to us all.  It seems like we are always waiting for something really important to happen. A graduation, a wedding, a baby, a new job, a biopsy or your waiting to find out what next adventure is in store for you with the oncologist. Will you have to continue chemotherapy for an unknown amount of time or will a new series of scans reveal what you have been waiting for or dreading. We are always playing a waiting game regardless of our current situation. I wonder if its possible to actually live without waiting for anything to happen? Is that what is referred to as “living in the moment”?  (sorry my yoganista sisters, and you know who you are). Can we breath ourselves into a state of not waiting for a damn thing to happen?  If so, sign me up!!!  I promise to breathe mindfully every moment I have on the planet.

I have one more excursion to The Chemo Cafe next week. One more time to experience first hand how others are coping tethered to their personalized assassins . The multiple wreckers of cell walls. It seems young men are more stoic at The Cafe. They constantly look at their watch and then look at at how much is left to infuse. They have jobs and families depending on them to get that paycheck cancer be damned!! Older men are more leisurely, reading Car and Driver or Vogue. They don’t cover a bald head and don’t bring blankets or snacks, usually come alone and have fun with the very pretty nurses. Young women look shell shocked and angry. They are trying to keep it together with a stylish chemo supply bag consisting of infused fruit water, seaweed crackers, small containers of avocado slices, a very soft and pretty anthropologie blanket and a great Lululemon hat with a scarf. The phone is forever buzzing with texts, snapchats, phone calls and selfies of friends having fun without them but sending heart emojis. The older woman (me) have a certain look that’s hard to describe. Our jobs as moms, wives, caretakers , working woman has come to a screeching halt.     Years spent doing doing doing for others stops. We are the walking wounded in mind and body. We bring lukewarm tea, broken crackers, sticky candies we found in the car, the throw off our beds to keep us warm. We don’t ask for help because it’s not our nature to need help. WE were the helpers. The more “mature” women at The Cafe have the look of a Queen in the throes of abdicating her thrown.  “I was awesome once”.  We were all awesome once yet here we are, grenades coursing through our veins hoping to be victorious.

 

Fifth Position in ballet is a position of the legs and feet where one foot is placed in front of the other, with the toes of the front foot aligned with the heel of the back foot.  Fifth position is one of the more important positions as it is often a preparation and “in-between” position for many jumps, turns, adagio work and more.  The position is with either the right or left foot in front, but it is technically the same position, just the difference of which foot is in front.   “Preparation” is the key word here..

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