Friday, November 30, 2012

Lasso the Stars - Book Review

I was given a book called Lasso the Stars by L. L. Neilsen to review for TLC Book Tours and today is my review date.   So, my review:  The main character is Dina, dying of cancer, who meets Gil, a handsome cowboy, who helps her  Die?  Lasso the Stars?

Positives: I read it all.   It kept my interest.

Negatives:  I just needed to be a different, less cynical, less atheistic person in order to actually enjoy it.

Positives:  It was well-written and edited, with one or two really thoughtful paragraphs.  It was a fast read;  I believe I read it in just a couple of hours.

Negatives:  It was a love story that included angels.  I can't stress that enough.  Angels.
*shhhh ...and they had sex*

Positives:  It showed death as a beautiful transition instead of an end.

Negative:  I believe death is the ultimate end.

Positive:  It is a very romantic book.

Negative:  It is a very romantic book.

Speaking as a woman who is actually living with a terminal illness, I just need to say that taking long walks and meeting attractive new men to have sex with is not on my list of things to do.  Neither the walks, nor the men - none has made it to Bucket List Status.  A good day for me is one in which my laxatives and painkillers both work.   So, if the story didn't have angels in it, I still would have found it unrealistic.

If you like romances, and you like angels, and are spiritual, and think cliche'd cowboys with dusty jeans and aviator glasses who say y'all all the time are hot,  I promise you that you will like this book. If you believe in angels that are sent from God to help dying people, you will like the way it is portrayed here.  If you are all those things and know somebody who has died of cancer, it might even be comforting for you to look at death in this light.   It might be the perfect book for you.

If you are like me, snarky, realistic, unromantic, skeptical, and cowboy and angel hating, you probably shouldn't bother.

I was just absolutely the wrong person to review it as it hit on every genre that I don't like. Obviously,  death and cancer are not my favorite light reading materials these days: I'm more in the "how to" section with those.  And angels and romance have never been on the list either. It was, to me, drivel.  Not badly written drivel, but still...not my thing.

Which means, it will probably be made into a movie.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I was hit by a big rig - need your help

(Update:  Gallegher Bassett contacted me and stated the client, PFG Transco,  offered to pay me my money.  In return, I am removing the contact information for the people involved.  However, I am not removing the story.  This should be a warning to companies who do unethical things - in the age of social media, we consumers do have ways to state our case.  We don't have no choice but to take it when a company decides to cheat us, thinking that we have no recourse.  Denying an insurance claim without investigating any of the facts is unethical, as is putting truckers on the road who are dangerous.  I can't do much about the second thing, but I at least got the money I was out due to that driver's lack of skill. 

I want to thank those of you who made calls, who tweeted, and who worked to right this wrong on my behalf.  You are fantastic and I appreciate every one of you.)

Facebook readers will know I was hit by a big rig the other day, a truck by PFG Transco, Inc. HR's email address is the only one I can find:  (deleted upon request).

It was November 19th and I was driving home from a doctor's appointment (where else would I be going?) and I was stopped at a red light, waiting to go straight. A big rig, an 18 wheeler, pulled into the turn lane left of me.  The light was green so he went. He was too close and he hit me, knocking off my side mirror, and I might add, scaring the crap out of me. (You who have been on chemo for a few years might not think that's such a bad thing.....).

I was shocked and slightly terrified.  I'm not supposed to die in a car accident, but of cancer!  How dare this truck take away my remaining months!  The scraping noises it made sounded like he had taken off the entire side of the car and not just the side mirror, and in fact, we have noticed bumper damage since.  I jumped to the right to get away in case the back of his truck came in through the window as he completed the turn, but fortunately, it didn't.  He drove off down the street. Stunned,  I honked and honked, trying to make him take notice, my back aching from the sudden movements.  He didn't stop, so all the cars had gone and I was in the front at a red, and his lane was still green, so I jumped over and followed.

At a red light, I hopped out of the car, banged on his window, and yelled "Hey!  You just hit me."  


And him right before I knocked:


We chatted a bit.  He apologized, hadn't realized, seemed very nice and wanted to pay himself so he didn't get fired, which I was willing to do if if wasn't too much money. (I wasn't going to trust him with a check.)   He said it would be cheap, and pulled out his wallet, but I wasn't so sure.  But, if my husband agreed, than I would too.   He then said then said to follow up to Outback Steakhouse up the street.  I asked him why, and he said he had to make a drop there.  So, I called my husband, explained to meet us at Outback .

As he began driving into Outback, I saw that he was hitting their sign.  I grabbed my camera!  

He seemed to be stuck.  I backed up although he had plenty of room.  He eventually gave up and drove away:.

You can't see it in this video but he cut off a blue car to the left, and he straddled lines several times to make turns.  I had no idea where he was going and so I put down the phone and called the 800 number on the back of his truck for "safety" and reported that he had just hit me.  Then I saw him make a couple more driving errors and since I had no idea where he was going I called 9-11.  While I'd agreed to meet with him and my husband to see if we could handle this privately, he was not demonstrating good driving and I thought it was best to do the right thing and for all I knew, he was going to leave town.

I was on the phone with CHP the whole time -they were calling it a hit and run and they were telling me to be careful.  I told them not to worry, he was a nice guy.  Hah!  

He finally pulled over behind a gas station.  Hindsight says he was trying to get away from me, but at the time I thought he was just looking for a place to park.  So, I told him (with CHP listening) that because of his bad driving and crossing lines and almost hitting somebody else, and hitting the Outback sign, I felt I needed to handle this properly so I'd called the authorities.

All of that should be recorded as it was a 9-11 call.  

I contacted my husband and told him where we were.  

The man was extremely apologetic, said he was a family man, was just supporting his wife and kids and he would get fired for hitting me.  He was very sorry, he said it numerous times.  I felt terrible and said I was sorry too, I even patted him on the shoulder.  His name is Fernando, and he'd been driving a truck for 6 months.   We talked until the CHP arrived.  I shared with him my own son's struggle to find a job and I knew how tough it was.

Well, the CHP arrived and then my husband.  The CHP helped us exchange information.  But, they said that the accident was actually in Sacramento City Police Boundaries and the police don't come out to take reports.  So, we would handle this through our insurance company.  I told Fernando that I would get an estimate and call him that night with the costs and we could still handle it off-book if he wanted - I really did feel terrible.  So, we got an estimate that day, for only $200.00 (still hadn't noticed the bumper) and I called Fernando on his company phone and left a message saying it was only $200.00 and if he would call me back, we'd take care of it that way.

He didn't call back, so we dealt with it through insurance.

This morning, I got a phone call, waking me up, from their insurance company, Gallagher Bassett, who hilariously bill themselves as the most ethical company in the world.  They took my statement and then told me they immediately ruled in favor of the driver. 


Apparently, he said he hadn't hit me, he didn't know me, there was no damage and he had no idea what I was talking about.  He lied to me about being a good man and about wanting to do the right thing.  My side of the story didn't matter at all, as I had no proof he did it so why they called me?   I have no idea. 

The fact that I'd called their company hot line immediately saying he'd hit me, that I followed him halfway around town, that I'd called the CHP - none of that means he hit me,  according to them. I'm just a crazy lady, I guess, following big rigs around and making up accidents and calling 800 numbers and the CHP for no reason.    That is just what this terminally ill woman does for fun in her spare time. Follow trucks and pretend they hit her.  Because, I don't have enough problems  in my life, clearly, I need to create more.

Here is a screenshot of the calls I made.  You can see that I was nervous and messed up dialing the truck's reporting number a couple of times, called my husband (Doug) in between and then called 9-11.

$200.00 is nothing for the "most ethical company in the world" to do the right thing but it is a lot for me at Christmas time.  Apparently there is no justice in this world, especially for me.

Maybe you should call  Gallagher/Basset and leave a message for (name and number deleted upon request) and let her know what you think about calling a terminally ill lady and pretending to get a statement when it has already been decided.   Or, you  may want to call the trucking company and let them know how you feel about having drivers of that caliber on the road with your children: (number deleted upon request).  They might also be interested in this post.

If you would like to tell Fernando  what you think about his lies, his company line is: (number deleted upon request.)  Feel free to leave a message - I called him and he hung up on me.  He's a good, family man, after all.  I'm sure he would like a letter telling him what an honorable person he is.

After all, I'm sure he immediately reported the accident I caught on video at Outback, which is is probably required to do.  Oh wait, he didn't, the insurance company told me they had no knowledge of it (but wanted me to send them the video.)  So, they could cover it up?  No chance.

Outback will have it with my testimony today.

If you have any advice for getting my rightful $200.00 from these people, I would be happy to hear it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet 'n Grunt

Regular readers will know that I have two greyhounds, which to me are the most beautiful animals in the world.

I have Cherry, who is 4, and Trista who just turned 9 months old.  Right after I got her, we took puppy classes where she impressed me with her eagerness to learn and ability to understand quickly.  She even sits on command, a rare greyhound trait.  Three months ago, I was on the road to a well-trained dog.

But, I never did sign up for the next set of lessons. I had started a new chemo which made me even more tired, and I stopped practicing with her because Cherry got in the way. Trista sits when told and my husband walks her twice a day and she seemed obedient enough to me.  We are working on her jumping on people, but aside from that problem, I thought she was doing well for a puppy her age.

More importantly, she keeps me company; I am alone a lot.

My days are spent in expressive conversations like this:

                    Mom, Timmy is in the well!

Because I don't speak her language, I joined a Facebook Group for Greyhound owners to help translate, and was pleased to discover that Trista's brother, Petie, was a member of this group.

Okay, wait.  I'm a dog-lover but am not (yet) nutty enough to think dogs can join facebook groups.  I still have a child at home so I haven't yet confused my dogs with my babies (although I did buy the dogs Christmas clothes).  So, I mean to say it was Petie's mother who joined the group.  (Yes, mother, not owner. I am a little crazy.)

A couple weeks ago, somebody posted about a Greyhound Meet and Greet that was happening right near my house, at Whole Foods, from 11:00 to 1:00 -  and Petie was going to be there.

Although stomach pain and fatigue makes leaving the house harder these days, I wanted to meet Trista's brother.  (And, mother, of course.)  So, I decided to go.

Sunday, I set my alarm for early in the morning, 10:00 am, so I could be ready.  I had promised to be there by noon.  I decided to take just Trista and not both dogs. Dad was putting up Christmas lights and was too busy to go, and I couldn't manage both.  To fool Cherry, he took her for a walk while I put Trista in the car.

Trista behaved beautifully during the ride, sitting in the center of the back seat and not trying to get into my lap as I drove, unlike when I'm watching TV, when my lap is fair game.   I parked a bit away, and walked my dog calmly to Whole Foods.  She walked by my left side, as she had been taught.

Then we saw the greyhound pack.

Trista exploded.    "Dogs!   Dogs and Dogs!  Greyhound Dogs!!!  People too!  More Dogs! Food!  Dogs!  Yay!!! Yay!!!! People and Dogs!"  She started dragging me to the group, tail whipping around like a helicopter, tongue hanging out.  I realized that I had put on the shoes I'd been wearing when I stepped on the bug, and they were a bit slippery, probably from leftover bug guts.  I tried to be super cool and let people think I was so eager to get there that I was running and sliding on my own.  What, a dog pull me?

We reached the pack and jerked to a stop, and then Trista had a wonderful time sniffing butts and showing off her tallness and meeting her even taller brother.  Petie is a fawn beauty, and disturbingly, very well-behaved, although he is the same age as Trista.

Now, in my defense, my managing with an exuberant teenage puppy is not like you doing so. Remember, I am dealing with cancer, pain and some pretty odd chemotherapy side effects.  Yes, it's an excuse, and I'm playing the cancer card.  It is also true.

My first problem is my continually runny nose and eyes, caused by herceptin.  When I say runny, I mean running like you have a vacation home in North Dakota and leave the bathroom faucet on in the winter so your pipes don't freeze. There is a constant, thin stream that can't be shut off.   I must have a tissue in one hand at all times, or I end up looking like a toddler with a slimy upper lip who sprinkles little nose drops that splat on the sidewalk.

When I'm outside, my eyes run too, even when I have lashes, as I do now.  So half a tissue is used for my eyes and half is for my nose and I have to juggle that while holding a dog and leash.

As I arrived, I began talking to a woman who was telling me a story about a greyhound, and my eyes were tearing and my nose was running and she looked at me with serious concern, not thinking her story had been that sad,  "Are you all right?"  I had to explain that it was medication side effects,  that I was not crying over a re-homed dog.

I suppose that wetness could come in handy if I should ever need to fake it though.

The next problem that interferes with my dog-control is my frozen shoulders, which still have not healed, especially the left which is getting worse again. Compounding the problem is some sort of pain I am having in my midsection, which might be cancer or might be chemo or might be the return of c-diff, but whatever it is, it feels like I've been kicked in the gut.

Needless to say, putting a muscled animal like Trista in a pack of ten greyhounds in front of a grocery store where people were leaving with delicious smelling bags of food did not do my shoulder and stomach any favors.   She pulled my arms right out of their sockets trying to stick her nose into the green cloth bags, or worse, the crotches, of the Whole Foods customer while I winced in agony trying to pull her back, a drop on the end of my nose,  continually sparkling in the sunshine.

My shoulder also came into play when a greyhound mommy decided to walk her shy dog around the back of the store, either to get away or have some privacy.   Trista decided this walk was a fine idea, that she needed a walk too, and with this particular dog and this particular time, thank you very much.     As soon as they walked away, Trista followed, me slipping and sliding behind her.  I had a choice: follow Trista on my feet, or follow her on my butt.  I chose feet.   That poor woman got our company whether she wanted it or not.  She was, of course, quite gracious.

After our unexpected walk, I went back to the group.  It seemed that Trista had relaxed, so I began chatting with another dog owner, petting her beautiful animal while mistakenly taking my eyes off my own dog.  That  moment of quiet proved to be treacherous.  While I was happily chatting away, tissue to my face, my dog snuck to the very end of her leash, where a man had unknowingly sat at a nearby table to enjoy his lunch.

And, Trista licked his bread.

The only reason I chose the word "licked" instead of ate, was the length of the leash.

The man, to say the least, was not happy.  I apologized profusely and asked somebody to hold my dog and went in to get him an entire loaf of gourmet, expensive, Whole Foods bread to make up for the roll she had ruined, but when I came out, he was gone.  Some of the people thought he went to the store to complain, which I hope won't affect future meet and greets.  Because of that, the woman who had arranged the gathering had to go in and explain the situation to the store staff.

There were at least ten other dogs there, all behaving like greyhounds do: sitting or standing calmly, beautifully posed and behaved, slightly aloof but friendly when approached, regal and composed,  impressing everybody who passed by with their beauty and quiet personalities, their owners rightfully proud.

Then there was me and my dog.  Me being dragged around uncontrollably, "crying" and snotting everywhere, trying to hang on for dear life, while Trista demonstrated her eagerness to sniff a crotch, stick her nose into somebody's full (and expensive) grocery bag, and participate in uninvited food tastings and walks.

I adore my energetic, enthusiastic, friendly, and brash puppy.  She gives me a lot of joy and her zest for life is a lesson for us all.

But next time?  I'm taking Cherry.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday

Quick reminder:  if you are shopping for Amazon items on Cyber Monday, please use my box to the right
----> to start your shopping.  Any search you do starting from my box gives me a teeny referral.  It can add up so please remember to do that.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Question for Cancer Patient:  "How are you doing this year?"

Answer:  "Better than the turkey!"

Once again, it is time to gather around the table with a thankful heart.  Thanksgiving in our family is still about sharing life's bounty with those we feel closest to; with our friends and our family; it is not about buying low-end electronics at a cheap price.  At least, not yet, and I hope it never is.

This year, my biggest thanks is that Kurt is receiving a marrow transplant. Yes folks, he found a donor. He has a second shot at life and living many Happy Thanksgivings with his family and loved ones.  That is #1 on my gratitude list.

I'm also thankful that my friend James' dog is on the road to recovery.  The poor pup has been sick for three months and had a surgery and is now doing well.   As a dog lover, I know how hard it is to have an animal in distress and I'm glad he's healing.  My dogs, obnoxious as they may be, bring me lots of joy.

And I am thankful for my many friends and family who have come through for me during this difficult year, in big ways and small ones.  The meals, the cards, the emails, the texts, the small gifts, the understanding, the knowledge that I may not been seen daily but am not forgotten  - I am thankful for all of it.  I am thankful to you who read my blog, who have come to know me, who care. When I started this blog, I never thought anybody but immediate family would see it.  Now I have friends from all over the world.

I am thankful for having a wonderful husband who takes on my duties without complaint, and listens to my many complaints without getting annoyed (or at least, sharing with me that annoyance.)  And, for my wonderful sons, who changed my life.  I am thankful for the people they are, and who I know they will become.  I don't have to be there to know that they will be honorable, good men for as long as their lives last.

Thanksgiving has always been special to me.  I remember my early days as a mom with a young baby, trying my hand at some of these dishes for the first time, eventually being able to cook our traditional feast expertly.  By the time I married and had my second child, I was feeding 20 people from a tiny kitchen in an easy bake oven-sized oven, and people patted their swelling stomachs and asked for thirds.  Although I had some stressful moments during the preparation,  I was always grateful for the family who surrounded me, for the ability I had to cook this meal, for being able to provide it,  for the sound of squealing children clamoring for more pie.  Unless I had no choice and no room at all, there was no kids table - everybody got a seat at the main table.

This year, my energy is down and pain is up.  I will have fewer people, and I will only make a few dishes, but I am still having family over.  I am buying most of the meal, turkey and sides, from Whole Foods, but will make things special to our family:  a coleslaw that was my mother's recipe,  a chocolate pie, that green bean casserole which is my son's favorite.  While it feels like cheating to buy a turkey, stuffing, gravy and yams, there is no chance that I can stand on my feet and cook for two days as in years past, so instead, I am grateful that I live near a store like Whole Foods that sells these delicious meals that taste like homemade, and can do most of the work for me.

When you have my illness, thoughts cross your mind like shadows: "Is this my last Thanksgiving?"  You have to push those thoughts away because they will crowd out the reason for the day.  It doesn't matter if I am here next year, all that matters is that I am here now.

Last year looked like my last too.  This time last year, c-diff was bubbling in my intestines, making me sick.  I managed to get a meal on the table and even smile, but inside I was deathly ill, and the minute people left I went to bed and that night I had gone septic.  I ended up in the ICU, with pseudomembraneous colitis, almost losing my colon and my life.  Recovery was very long and very difficult - it took months for any normality to return.

But I recovered.  Here I am, celebrating yet another Thanksgiving.  I will once again see my younger son choose dark meat, my older son will kiss his girl and crack up the table with his quick wit, and my step-daughter will talk about something esoteric.  We may play a board game, or sit at the table two hours past the pie and coffee, chatting.   We will will be, yet again, a family. Although not all will be with us, all will be remembered.

And so it will be with me, someday, when I am gone.  I imagine that the family will still gather, that a glass will be lifted to my memory.  I hope they don't all float off  in different directions, like dandelion seeds.  But, I suppose that is inevitable when the matriarch is gone.

But, enough of that.  I am so thankful for that I am still here to enjoy this glorious sunshiney day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Back to making that pie.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Parenthood - the TV show

One of my favorite TV shows is the family drama Parenthood.  I love the characters.  The actors in the show are fantastic, and I find the story arcs interesting. (Bravo, writers.)   If I could join any fake family, I think I'd choose that one, and for the record,  I, like Sarah, also would really find it hard to choose between Jason Ritter and Ray Romano. (I'd have to pick Ray because I had a crush on Jason's father back in the 80s and that would just be too weird.)

When I found out they were going to do a story line where one of the women gets breast cancer, my heart sank.  I live breast cancer every day, and don't really want to see it in my entertainment, much less one of my favorite shows.   TV is one way I escape my reality.

Although, if one of the guys from the Deadliest Catch got it, I might feel differently.  Can't you just see Captain Keith deal with a mastectomy?

The entertainment industry has an atrocious record for truth-telling when it comes to cancer treatment.  On TV and in the movies, all chemo patients puke, they all look continually miserable, they lose their hair but not their lashes or brows, they never have mastectomies,  they get huge circles under their eyes, get skinny,  and generally look very bad.

The exception was Samantha in Sex and the City, where reality was bent too far towards the other end of the bell curve - she wore a different fabulous wig to every party and had great sex with a hot young stud while on chemo.

Both can happen - miserable puking or hot young sex -  but the truth for nearly everybody lies somewhere in the middle.

Nobody on TV demonstrates the real side effects that make us miserable, like constipation and a constantly runny nose. And, that's a shame because all the Kleenex and Miralax I use would make for fantastic product placement.

I understand that having cancer would not be an interesting or dramatic story without some suffering, and Hollywood needs that conflict and they need to show it visibly.  Having somebody look okay but sleep for 18 hours a day would not for interesting TV make - I get it.  But, one of the reasons the over-dramatization of nausea and vomiting and misery bothers me is because I have been going to the infusion room for 3 years, and I see so many new people who are terrified because of what they've seen on TV.  That chemo makes you puke and miserable is now in our collective zeitgeist and it's hard to change it.    Despite what their doctors and nurses tell them - that the premeds are likely to handle their nausea, that they will be able to function and even work,  most people don't believe it.  When they hear it from me, they feel better because they know I've been there, and I've talked more than one newbie down off the ledge in my day.  I just wish they weren't on that ledge to begin with.

Back to Parenthood:  I know that Maura Tierney was supposed to be on the show and had to back out because she was diagnosed with breast cancer - the same kind I have, HER2+.  She has been public about the fact that chemo is not portrayed realistically on TV.    So, I had hopes the people involved in that show knew her and had some sort of investment in showing the truth, or at least, the common truth,  which is that chemo is hard but it's worse to think about then do.  Most go to work, manage their family obligations,  and incorporate going to chemo into their lives.

Chemo (at least, early on)  is really an anti-climax, although tell that to Samantha.

Last week's Parenthood was pretty good.  They did touch on something all of us experience - people wanting to give us health advice.  I can't tell you how many times people have told me what to eat, or what supplement to take.  They showed kind people bringing food, which is also true for most of us (or I hope it is).   I never had six chickens in my fridge but I've been saved with meals more than once.

Then, they exposed difficult family relationships, which don't get better in a health crisis.  Christina's mother has been absent and uncaring, and once again, would not come when her daughter is facing this very scary time in her life, something which hit close to home for me.  Christina's quote was, "I want my mom, my own mom, to consider me important enough to get on a plane and come see me."  I felt the same, but the difference for me was I never expected it so was not disappointed when it never happened.  Christina is still hoping that the seriousness of her disease will fix a broken relationship.   If the story stays true to reality, she will learn that cancer does not make people love you, and it does not change them into being caring if they were not to begin with.  She will find that certain people she thought loved her will just disappear - but she will also learn to appreciate the people she does have, the ones who provide support.  She will learn they are her true family.

She also says something we all feel,  "I sometimes wish that things were back to normal, and I wish I could curl up into a ball and cry forever, but I can't."

So, with those moments, with Christina speaking a real truth, with the reactions of people around her reflecting what actually happens,  I was hopeful that as this story arc plays out, they would get most of it right.

Then I saw this scene:

And, I realized how exactly right he was and how honest this show is.

I mean, look at me now:


I am a bit squeamish to continue watching, and "scenes from next week" seem to show her puking and looking bad, doing the entire cliche chemo bit.  But the show is good so I will stick with it.  Writers, if you come across this post,  feel free to do me a favor and end this part of your story by the season finale.  While those with breast cancer know it never truly ends, I will forgive a small untruth - just once.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Follea Wigs and Giveaway

The Follea Wigs are considered the Porche of the wig world. They are expensive, but this is the wig that women with permanent hair loss, those with alopecia or those whose hair never returns after cancer treatment (rare) choose. They don't come off, they are comfortable and they are made with upscale product linings as well as natural hair.

I was very excited to be offered a (returnable) sample to try, and I must say, the wig is gorgeous and exceeded my expectations. I hadn't specified color or style though, and it was long and blonde, which was so not me that I wouldn't be doing the company any good by showing a photo of me in it - it would generate laughs, not awe.  Because I liked it so much, I want to give the best presentation.

The hair was soft and brushable, felt better than any head of hair that has ever grown out of me, or any I have bought. The hairline and part looked completely natural and you really could not tell it was a wig.  And, you could swirl your head around like a kindergarten girl, and the wig stayed on.

While I have hair again, it seemed so very comfortable - like a cloud. I will inline photos of the cap for you at the end of this post so you can see the very visible difference.  I think that the comfort and beauty this wig provides is what any cancer patient needs. When I think of all the miserable times I had in my shiny wig, (which were actually few because I couldn't stand to wear it) I know that I would have loved to have a Follea wig for my bald periods. The inside cap was so soft, that I think it could be worn all day without wanting to rip it off and throw it into the nearest fire. I recommend this wig for anybody who is going to do chemo who can afford it. And, if you are Stage IV, this might be a good investment as we do lose our hair numerous times.

But wait! They are having a contest and you have until November 18 to win. Here is what they say:

Follea is hosting a Breast Cancer Wig Giveaway on Facebook that will give women with breast cancer the chance to win great prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a wig from Follea’s luxurious Gripper Collection, five second place winners will receive Tres Chic MM6 wigs, and 50 third place winners will receive one of Follea’s super-soft bamboo sleep caps. Women with breast cancer can submit a video about their personal journey, or a family member or friend can submit a video about why their loved one with breast cancer inspires them. Also, every Friday, ending December 14, Follea will conduct a random drawing of all of the contestants’ names, giving all participants the chance to win one of Follea’s bamboo sleep caps every week. Like Follea on Facebook and enter the contest. If anybody deserves a beautiful wig, it's a woman whose lost a boob or two! Here are my photos of this great wig:

On the left is my best wig, Henry Margu.  On the right, the Follea.  See the difference?
Turned inside out.  Look at the soft fabric, and what appear to be hand-tied hairs that look completely natural.
I just brushed the wig.  Even on a fake head, it looks soft and natural.  You could put this wig up in a pony tail too.

Quick!  Enter the contest and get yourself one of these fantastic wigs!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Another Video for You

Mmmmmhmmm. Glorybe, I ain't dead yet.

Although, it does speak to my age that I found Dr. Rothaford the sexiest. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Video for You

Grab your tissues (I always have mine handy, damn herceptin) and watch a remarkable young man live out his bucket list.  This is by the same people who filmed me.

Soul Pancake is a production company started by Rainn Wilson (yes, the guy from The Office) to tackle some of life's big questions.  And, how we prepare to die is one of those questions.  It is not talked about in our society much, and I have no idea why.  People approach me with kid gloves when they have any questions about being diagnosed with an incurable cancer, but it's unnecessary.  It's as natural as being born.  That doesn't mean it isn't sad, or unfair, or any of those things.  I wish this wasn't happening to this young man, and I, of course, relate to his mother, who must be going through hell.  I am so glad I am the sick one in my family, rather than one of my children.

Link to it on YouTube:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soul Pancake Production

So, I am going to be on an online show called "My Last Days," by a production company called Soul Pancake.  And, funny story about that - I don't have a lot of Soul, being a middle-aged white chick and all, but I used to have an avatar on a TiVo forum - it was a photo of me with a pancake on my head.  (Like the old pancake bunny, remember?)  And, I was talking with Ahmed,  the assistant producer, about my interest in tech and his interest in home theater systems and I asked him if he knew about AVS Forums, and he said he did.  Well, the forum where I had the pancake bunny avatar was under the umbrella of the AVS Forums and that means we both know Mike Lang, a mod on both forums.

Small world.  It all came together, didn't it?

So, this camera crew had been out filming with me at my house, with my family and they even went with me to pick up a prescription and grabbed one of my chemo nurses and my doctor's assistant for an interview, which was a big surprise for them, I'm sure.    They had been interviewing us all day and above is a picture of what the house looked like with them here, talking to my husband.   It was an amazing experience having a crew in the house asking us questions about death, and I think it really made my family think about the experience and what it meant to them for me to have a life-limiting illness, as we say.  We have talked about it a lot but in a more practical way, and this got them to thinking about it in a new way.

I want to thank Justin Baldoni, the director, Ahmed, the Asst. Producer and the entire crew, who were so sensitive and caring while they were filming (and some who have names I can't spell so won't try).   Please note:  there was one shot when I was sound asleep in bed and had that feeling that somebody was staring at me, you know?  I starting waking thinking it was the dog then I remembered, there is a camera crew in the house.  I opened my eyes and there was a camera, inches from my face, probably capturing a slo-mo of my drooling.

The power of cancer is such that I turned over and slept a couple more hours.

So, maybe my thanks should be reserved for after I see that scene, and if you noticed the crumbling grout in the bathroom, sorry but it can't be fixed right now and who are you to judge anyway?  I have a broken refrigerator that needs to be replaced first.

They were cool people and I think they are going to handle my situation sensitively and with care.  Watch the first episode.  It's short so won't take a lot of your time but you will be amazed at the wonderful family you see and the bravery of these young people is truly inspiring.  Sadly,  Ryan is now in hospice and their family is struggling financially so if you are moved to do so, please donate to them.

I also was treated to the second episode (I will be the third) and it was so beautiful we just sat stunned for a minute when it ended.   I have no idea how they are going to make my story as touching as those other two - they are young people dying before their time, and a lot of people will see my gray hair and go, "Girl, your time was over long ago, whatchu complainin' about?"

I said yes to this because I don't say no to new experiences any more if I can physically do them.  And, it was kind of hard having a crew in the house for two full days filming every thing you do and you know what?  You really don't want to be on a reality TV show, especially if you have dogs that want to steal every scene. But, I'm glad I did it and all of these people were wonderful and made it seem easy and not like an intrusion. And, they have the magic to turn night into day, it was really amazing.

All I have to say until I see it is Justin and Emily, you are perfect for each other.  You will make beautiful babies and if one is a girl, you can give her the middle name of Ann.

Not even after me.   Everybody's middle name is Ann.  Ask around.  :)