Friday, November 26, 2010

I want the merry-go round!

Minutes before my mastectomy in July..............where I buckled in for this roller coaster.
Today my body has been pretty sore.  I am still having trouble sleeping and I thought--if crazy bitches are out there shopping right now, the least I can do is slap a blog together before I try this whole sleep thing again--or my meds kick in and do their job, they really have been slacking lately.

One holiday down, one more to go.............then I am finished taking a second seat to cancer.  Today was far from a typical turkey day--but it was wonderful just the same.  What is important to me is that everyone I love (near and far) were safe and having fun of their own, surrounded by lots of love and laughter. Traditions are something that I love to tweak and continuously rework---traditions can be fun but don't always have to be the tent poles of holidays; things change, people change, and with those changes holidays, traditions and life has to change.  I am thankful that my family and friends are adaptable and resilient---not all of us jungle worthy....but everyone is looking good for natural selection. 

People who have problem with change have issues with traditions is my assumption that this would extend to life events including cancer, loss of a job, etc..... (important to remember that I love to have control of things, I make lists miles long, just to add another list to them the next day, and I am would tighter than.............well something really fucking tight).  Though I am a person who loves to have control, I am adaptable............I am a freaking doula!  You can't control babies or mamas-you have to let things happen and embrace each change, same as life.  So when I found out I had cancer I used both 'sparkling' sides of my personality---I bought every book possible and did more research than I did in graduate school, and accepted that I was never going to be the same, everything was going to change and buckled myself and loved ones up for one hell of a ride.

This is not the first time traditions changed in my family.........when I met Scott (who works every holiday) my family and I decided that it isn't the day that is important--it is the time you get to spend together, so not just on the 25th of November...........we can do thanksgiving anytime, as with other holidays.  Scott and I are on the same page and we have celebrated holidays since we have been together on random days, random hours, random, random, random...and wonderful.  Once we have kids we are excited to create traditions with them and bring what we have done and bits and pieces from the Greenaways and Barkleys into a beautiful blend of love, tradition, fun and laughter--I can't wait!!

When my dad passed away, the holidays were still coming at the end of the year--traditions were going to change..............a lot.  My mom and my sisters and I became a meld of tears, laughter, a fuck load of kleenex, beer, love and Greenaway blood.  We all changed when my dad died, we had to adjust--we weren't given an option, we couldn't bury our heads in the sand, there was no going back.  Our family will never be the same, but what came out of my dad passing away what the incredible strength he had instilled in my sisters and I and how incredible and empowering my mom is!  We Greenaway girls are tough--I know my dad is proud and I also know that when I need it in this tooth and nail fight I am in with cancer, he gives me a kick in the ass. 

Holidays are hard isn't always a love fest, not always rainbows, kittens and marshmallows.  I have been lucky enough to have grown up with a family where holidays are great and not full of tension (yeah, we have some crazies....myself included on occasions) but in the end it is love and laughter.  For the first time that I can remember, holidays are hard for me right now.  I am not myself, I have fucking CANCER, no hair, no boobs,a bad memory, infections on top of infections, I am exhausted, I am fat, I am in pain, I shudder when I look in the mirror, and I really don't feel like celebrating much.  I don't want to get dressed up to sit and eat turkey, even surrounded by those I love.  So I didn't.  My sister came over, we drank mimosas, she made challah bread and we ate pizza---it was wonderful.  There was a range of TV watching, stand up comedy, oldies music clapping, and laughs--and I did it all in Scott's pj pants and the same t-shirt I wore to bed the night before........................fancy.

this battle is hard work
For me to get ready (takes 15 minutes.............feels like I ran a fucking marathon).  Even wearing jeans has become hurts, I can't breathe and I sweat like makeup runs and it looks like I have been crying (which in reality is a precursor to me crying).  Many days I don't like to do it, I guess it is lucky that I don't feel I have to very often.  When you come to visit you will find me in my husbands pj pants, a loose t-shirt, slippers (love you Tas!), and a blanket near by for after a hot flash.  In my house I am comfortable........but I don't want to do that when I go out "into the world"  because people already stare........that would make it worse--it would confirm what everyone was wondering---I am a "sick" person.

I am looking forward to the future where I am not locked in a battle with cancer.  This battle sometimes takes over my life and I forget that someday it will get better.  I have minutes, hours, and days where I feel sorry for myself, and have "poor me" moments.  Sometimes I scream and yell--the only reason being I can't think of words to express what is going on in my head.  With tragedy comes change, it is inevitable--but you can chose how you come out of it, what you will be when it is all over.  The roller coaster will come to a stop, you adjust a few things, wipe the tears out of your eyes, adjust your hair a bit, throw up if you need to, and move on to the next ride.   I am really looking forward to unbuckling my safety belt and running for the fucking door.  This ride sucks, I want off now.

--------I am still me, it's just me with cancer and the changes that come with cancer.  Soon I will be me, just me putting myself back together after cancer.........................then I will be the new me---she is yet to be determined..............but I assume she will be pretty fucking fantastic.


  1. I am sometimes lost for words when i read your posts so i don't always comment. But i just wanted you to know that i do read them and i think your a pretty dam amazing person an you will get through this and when its your time to step of that merry go round, life is going to be pretty amazing to as you have changed and adapted and embraced your whole journey with honesty and acceptance and that makes for a pretty remarkable person. Take care and just know that there are people out there thinking about you and wishing you well. Lots of care dee x

  2. You are and will continue to be amazingly, fucking fantastic! Sending lots of love your way.

  3. Love you! I share your take on the holidays and traditions. Glad you had a relaxing day yesterday.

  4. Dori,

    What you are writing and what you are doing is phenomenal. I won't say "don't lose sight of that," because that's an awful lot of pressure. What I will say is this: In those times when you lose sight of how phenomenal it is, fuck it, you'll get it back.

    (Sunder's mom in Okanogan)