Sunday, January 15, 2012

Screwy Blog

I have come to realize that for many of you, my blog is not rendering properly. I see it fine so I hadn't noticed right away. In the next few days, I'll be playing around, trying to fix what is broken. I'm not very good at this sort of thing, so bear with me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blaming the Victim

A woman recently made a comment on my blog, saying that my diet probably contributed to my cancer. She said, I can't imagine trying to get well from cancer by stuffing myself with crap-food... full of man-made preservative-laden junk that probably helped you to get cancer in the first place.I corrected her, as a) there is no proof that anything in your diet will cause breast cancer, b) my diet has always been extremely healthy with few processed foods, c) my post was not about recovering from cancer (as I know I won't) but recovering from colitis, d) it had a large dose of humor and exaggeration and wasn't meant to be taken seriously, and:

e) I will not tolerate any form of "blame the victim" on my blog.

That "policy" is not for me, but for all the freshly diagnosed women who find this blog and are looking for truthful answers and hope. I don't want them to blame themselves more than newbies to cancer already do - and trust me, they do.  It's part of the process that newly diagnosed women go through. "Why did I get this?  What did I do wrong? Was it that wild weekend I had in 1978?"

When I was told I had breast cancer, I was shocked, and looked for reasons as most do.  I said to my oncologist, "but, I have no risk factors."  He looked at me and said, "You do.  You were born a woman."

That was all I needed to hear to stop the blame game.  It wasn't my fault.

It's not yours either.

On my blog, even if a person did contribute to their cancer, let's say they have lung cancer and smoked, this is a blame-free zone.  Nobody deserves cancer, no matter what they did, and nobody deserves that sort of guilt.  What's done is done and any discussion should not be about blame, but about moving forward.

I'd have left well-enough alone, but the woman who made the comment has a blog, and she wrote about me there (posted in it's entirety below).  Her contention was that I have no common sense for not taking her advice.  She ignored the fact that I was under the guidance of a professional nutritionist, and that if I ate the way she wanted, it would not be digestible for me and could send me back to the hospital.

In a bit of hypocrisy too delicious for me to pass up, she also did not mention her professed love of whiskey,  her love of tattoos (both of which cause health risks of their own) and then after a rant calling me names, sums up her blog by stating that she believes that no creature "with nerve-endings" deserve abuse.

She must know about my neuropathy.

Oh, and by the way, all this attacking is okay because she knows people with cancer. Presumably ones who did not follow her advice, otherwise (ta-da!) they would not have cancer.

I started to wonder why she thought the way she thought, and why she thought it was okay to trash me the way she did.  Instead of continuing a back and forth conversation in the comments section, she ranted about me on her blog - where you can't comment.

What drove her?

After giving it some thought,  I think I understand why she did what she did.  She is playing "Blame the Victim."  While she did it in a much harsher and classless way than most, she is not alone in wanting to create distance from a cancer patient - or really, any sort of victim.

Blaming the victim is a popular game in this country.  You've done it, and I have done it.  I've first noticed this years ago, long before I got cancer.   Somebody would get in a car accident, and it would come up in conversation.  People would say, "Oh, they were probably drunk."  When it turns out alcohol wasn't involved, conversation would turn to statements like, "Well, I'd never be out that late at night." "I'd don't go on that highway."  "I'd never drive that kind of car."   A home invasion robbery turns into, "Why did they open the door?"  "Why did they have cash in their house?" "That would never happen in my neighborhood."

I still find myself instinctively doing it when I read a story in the newspaper, especially one that scares me, such as one involving an accident with a child.  But, now I remind myself that I don't know the complete story and horrible things happen to good people through no fault of their own.

Perhaps, with so much cancer in her family, this woman is terrified, and is trying to control the uncontrollable the only way she thinks she knows how - through diet.

This "blame the victim" is a protective mechanism we instinctively do to allow us to believe we are immune from random tragedy; that it can't happen to us.

But, it can.  The woman who wrote that blog post can get cancer, just as I did.  The truth is, nobody knows why people get cancer.  Sure, there is a genetic component for a very few.  But for most of us, it's just bad luck.  It's probably a complex combination of genetics, external environment, internal environment, diet, proteins in cells, hormones,and a million other body and DNA-specific things that in any given combination, can cause an error in cell division and thus, cancer.

There is just no answer.  People don't like not having answers, but if it was as easy as eating green, leafy, organic vegetables - there would be no cancer.

While an extreme example, people like the woman who blamed me for my cancer because of my supposed diet are no different than the fools of the Westboro Baptist Church who picket the funerals of our service men and women because of the policies of the military.   They blame the victim for something not their fault, for merely joining the military, and feel justified in their cruelness.

They are the ones to feel sorry for, not those of us with cancer.


I will put her post here just for context.   This is it in its entirety so don't go looking for it and give her any hits, and she doesn't allow comments so there is no reason to try to spark a discussion with her.


"Common sense is not so common." ~Voltaire

I swear to gawd on high that there's no truer words ever spoken on this earth than the ones above.

I was going through some blogs that I read on a pretty steady basis & read one from a woman who has Stage IV cancer. Yeah, she's been through hell & back, as most cancer patients have been. My dad, my brother, my 41yo cousin, many friends, many family, many acquaintainces have had it. Some died from it & some haven't. This particular blogger is fighting for her life at the moment & is most recently trying to recover from a difficult surgery & C-diff. She weighs 90 lbs & is trying to gain weight... by eating processed cheese food-like substances, candy, canned preservative-ladened salt-ladened soups, and other really nutritious foods like that (read with sarcasm added!). I suggested to her, in the comment section of her blog entry, that she might do well to try fresh organic leafy green vegetable juices & fresh organic fruit juices & stay away from the chemically processed crap and sugar. After all that's probably what helped cause her cancer to begin with, in my viewpoint.

She responded like a raging bull, accusing me of saying that she caused her own cancer.

I give up on stupidity & stupid people. If this chick thinks she can recover well from her recent surgery, the C-diff, & cancer in general by eating bon-bons, there's nothing I can do or say to change her mind. If someone in this condition thinks that Fannie May & Progresso will make life all better, I wish her well.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but "well" is the last thing she's going to be, eating shit like she's eating. But why should I care? I dunno... I'm a sucker for stupid people, I guess.

Her profile:

Feminist lover of nature, land preservation, hard music, good whiskey & tattoos. Warrior woman for many causes, including the right of all living things with nerve endings to be free of abuse & torture, both human & animal alike. On topics I'm passionate about it's best not to cross me. I'm knowledgable about those subjects thus you will never win. Plus I can get very ugly!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Did you make a resolution this year?

Do you want to lose weight?

Did you clean out your fridge, throw away the cookies and cupcakes, stock up on vegetables, buy yourself a juicer? Did you get a motivational diet book or three?  Are you planning on joining a gym or taking healthy, invigorating walks around the neighborhood?  Have you recruited folks at work to help you? "Please don't let me near the candy jar!" "Want to walk with me at lunch?"

Did you order exercise equipment off Amazon?

Millions of people have the goal of losing weight for the New Year.  Millions have done all the things I wrote about above. You are not alone.

I am.

I'll bet you wish you had my New Year's Resolution.

Don't hate me but......

I have to gain ten pounds.

According to my oncologist, I weighed 105 in mid-November.  Thin, yes, but I like myself at 100.  Like all women, when we do go over our ideal weight, it goes to places we don't want it to go - for me, it's the belly and thin as I was, I had a muffin-top.  If it would go in my arms, legs, butt, calves, then I would be happy.  But any pound over 100 only goes into my belly, so I have chicken legs and a roll overflowing my jeans.  Anything over 100 and I resemble a spider.

I know, I know,  I get no sympathy.

I weigh 90 pounds now, after C-Diff got me.  No muffin top.  Maybe a bit of sympathy now?  15 pounds is a huge percentage of my total weight.

Yesterday, I was feeling better enough so I could actually leave the house. The major stabbing pain in my colon is slowly dissipating, and I'm left with vague belly aches.  It's time to go somewhere, anywhere but a doctor's office.

Leaving home presents its own problems - like what to wear?  I was skinny before I lost 15 pounds, and now that I look like a Holocaust victim, getting dressed is hard. Nothing fits.

Should I buy a few things to tide me over?  Who weighs 90 pounds?  11 year old girls, that's who.  So no, I can't shop unless I want to wear jeans with rainbows on them and shirts with kittens.  Kitten shirts may be darling on an 11 year old, and possibly an irony-filled 20 year old with a rockin' spiky pitch black hairstyle with a streak of red -  but they are not so attractive on a 53 year old grey-haired suburbanite.

My coccyx now sticks out farther than my buttocks does, which is very unsightly.  Come on, even if you are anorexic you have to think that's going too far.  On the plus side, I don't have to make that pursed face to add blush to my cheekbones anymore.

The frozen shoulder and chest and abdominal surgeries have left me with a forward pull to my upper body - a faux hunchback, if you will.  Finding clothes, especially pants, that fit and don't make me look a very sick cancer patient with too-big clothes hanging off her- it's not that easy these days.  My jeans sag, my leggings look weird, the flowy tunics show my "hump" and a shirt with a collar requires jeans that don't sag........sigh......

Having zero body fat, aside from causing worry about bed sores, makes sitting hard.  I have no cushion and I can feel my butt bones digging into chairs.  Even padded ones.

So, I bought one of these:
This is a "Booty Pop" Butt Enhancer

You know, just for the interim, when I gain what little ass I had back.  Trust me, I'm long past the point of worrying about fake enhancers in clothing.

But, you know what?  It doesn't fit.  The smallest size is way too big.  You see that ruched part that is supposed to go where your butt crack goes?  Well, in me the parts next to it are inches long and the padding starts in the middle of my butt check.    It doesn't pop my booty at all.  It may pop my hips a little but that wasn't what I was going for, because that makes my butt look even flatter.   It makes me look like I stuffed uneven socks in my butt that slid over to the sides, and it adds no padding when I sit.

With the unevenness that is going on in my shirt, it may be a match, but it does not add to the Ann "for her age" Hotness Factor, which was about a 6 before cancer and has hovered around a 3 since then (which is only in clothes, and is if I try real hard and put on makeup and do my hair and make my boobs look even).  Now, post c-diff, I'm worried I'm going to be in the negative numbers, and I don't want to get to the point where little children think I'm the witch of the neighborhood.

In this neighborhood, where at 53 I'm one of the youngest homeowners,  that would be quite an accomplishment.

Anyway, I'm disappointed that my fake booty won't pop and that I don't have comfortable padding to sit down in.  I'm going to have to start carrying one of those stadium pillows with me everywhere - you know, the kind old ladies carry around when they go see the 49ers?

I hate football but it was this or kittens

My last hope is that heroin chic comes back in style, and the fashion includes a port, too.  (Why didn't junkies ever think of getting a port put in?  Wouldn't that make their lives much easier?  If they can scam drugs from doctors, they should be able to scam central lines too, don't you think?)

As of two days ago,  I am able to eat almost a normal diet so in theory I should be able to gain weight back.  I tested half a grilled cheese sandwich made with a processed cheese food-like substance with no negative consequences, so  I am definitely on the road to recovery. The bad news:  Too much anything leaves me queasy, even grilled chicken and rice.  My stomach does not want to be full, or it doesn't know what to do with it - it's quite confused about this digestion thing.  It thinks the colon is just a tube with no job, and I have to remind it that it has a function.  Currently, there isn't a lot of digestion going on, it just seems to speed through me and knocks on the door at the other end when it's ready.  And, like with your best friend, sometimes the knocking comes at inconvenient times.

I don't want to fire it though, we just need to retrain it.

Despite all these complications, it's time to work on my New Year's Resolution.  I don't want my oncologist to have sleepless nights over the possibility of my bedsores, so I've got to get my fat on.

Courageously, despite my clothing difficulties, I left the house and hit See's Candy.  I bought myself a pound of Nuts and Chews.  I've heard many people say they eat candy and might as well apply it directly to their hips - sounds like a plan.  Hips, here comes a pound. (Is that a pound of candy or is the box and paper wrappings included?)

I'm not new to See's Candy.  Normally, I like a little See's around for my chocolate craving and my husband is very good at providing it to me.  But, I'm very disciplined about it - I eat one piece a day.  I have willpower like that. (Actually, it's just lack of a sweet tooth; that's all the sugar I need.  Put me in front of salt - pickles, olives, sunflower seeds - and you won't see any kind of willpower because I don't really have any.)

Yesterday, in the interests of gaining weight, I ate four pieces of candy, which is about 280 calories.  Then my husband came home with a box for me, this time cremes, so I had to try one of his. 360 k-cals.

I'm on my way.

I aim to be one of those ladies who sits on the couch and watches TV and eats Bon Bons. I like Tabatha's Salon Takeover for my bon bon eating.  I totally want to do my hair like Tabatha and dress all in black; she's so chic.  (I'm already good at telling people what to do.)  Tabatha goes great with chocolate.

I broke the rules and at at midnight last night, I ate.  I got a Fage yogurt, which is more like dessert than yogurt, and that meant 140 more calories in.

Breakfast, I had a Butter Horn, 220 calories.

I'm kind of stuck though. I haven't been eating lunch.   I can eat a Progresso soup but they don't have much in the way of calories in them.  I can make another processed cheese food sandwich, but I do have cancer, I don't want to live on chemicals.  Not totally anyway.

What's in the fridge?  I have some oranges.  Some pears.  Yogurt.  Sauerkraut.  Celery.  Carrots.  Kefir.  Creme Cheese.  Eggs.

In the cabinets it's all canned things, like soups and beans and broth and pasta.

I'm not really that hungry anyway.

What do people eat to gain weight?  What do they do when they aren't hungry but know they should eat?

It's not like I can go to a fancy restaurant every day, I don't have time or money.  Just the thought of fast food makes my colon twist and I've had enough colon twisting to last two lifetimes.

Can you gain weight on four pieces of See's Candy and a yogurt a day?

This weight gaining thing is harder than I thought.

People tell me to try ice cream, but c-diff can make you lactose intolerant.  They said not to eat dairy but now that I'm handling other things I think I can try ice cream.  Except, it's 55 degrees outside and I'm cold.  I have some coffee heath bar crunch in the freezer though, I may have to break it out.

I think I'll just have some tea and an orange.  Don't hate me, ladies.  If I could take your ten pounds, I gladly would.

My REAL resolution is to scrapbook my photos.  My oldest is 25 years old and all photos taken since he was born and his little brother were born are in a variety of cardboard boxes in closets all over the house.  Then I got a digital camera and now they are on computers all over the house.  That resolution will take some work.  But, if c-diff taught me one thing, it's that I can die without warning, so I want to get those photos into books, even if the books aren't up to my artistic standards.  My scrapbooking standards are very high, and a page can cost me 2 hours and $200.00 so I really have to lower my standards and "get 'er done."

Sigh.  I think I'll go have a piece of See's.