Sorry, lot full


Yesterday I drove to Houston and MD Anderson. I had no appointments, just picked up a prescription.

The parking lot at the Main Building was full.  So was Valet Parking.  They put those orange traffic cones across the entrance when Valet Parking is full. This always makes me sad.  It usually means too many people are inside the building finding out they have cancer.

The Main Building lobby was crowded.  Lots of people, some of them clutching new patient packets, looking at maps, asking for directions.

Wondering if they’ll ever find their lives again.

Two Things

  • New note pads  – Do you smoothe out that first sheet with your hand?
  • Ceiling fans  – on the low, lazy setting



Just stop saying it

** Linnea Olson at Outliving Lung Cancer wrote an interesting post called Just Not a Just World.  This is a comment on her post, but because my comment is so long, I’m publishing it here.  (That, and it finally lets me scratch “write blog post” off my list.) **

As a fellow LC patient/client/mutant/whatever we call ourselves, I follow your blog and have learned enough about you through your blog to know that what you write is thoughtful and heartfelt. Your intelligence, indomitable spirit and optimism shine through and are surely an inspiration to many who read your story.

However, with this post, you’ve scraped up against what has lately become a raw nerve with me since I got handed this bag of snakes and shoved down a road called cancer.  And that is this let-me-make-sure-you-know-I-never-smoked clause that appears in almost everything I’ve read by a “never-smoker” with lung cancer.

I applaud your intent in this post. Really, I do. And I get where you’re going, but your message would have rung truer with me had you not found it necessary to mention that “never ever touched a cigarette.”

I don’t care whether you smoked or not.  Your insistence that I know you never smoked feels more like a thinly veiled device to establish your superiority over someone who did smoke and has lung cancer rather than as an illustration of the arbitrary nature of life, which was the theme of your post (shit happens).

Had you analogized, “I’ve never been exposed to radon, so why me?” to support your theme, it would have been just as effective.

Whenever a writer or speaker decries the stigma around smoking and lung cancer, but feels compelled to let you know that he or she never smoked, I’m fairly certain that person still has a way to go to  rid his or her own psyche of the stigma.  It lingers. Subliminally.

But it’s time to make a conscious effort to change, to be more aware of what we write and say in the context of smoking and lung cancer.  Anti-smoking campaigns have done an excellent job of raising awareness, but they’ve lasered and locked on lung cancer as the single, inevitable, awful, your fault consequence of smoking.  Self-inflicted. Therefore, unworthy of support.

Maybe it behooves us all, especially those who write or speak publicly about lung cancer, to recondition ourselves by  (1) omitting mention of anyone’s smoking status in our compositions and conversations, and (2) informing and reinforcing  readers and listeners about the many other cancers and fatal diseases are associated with smoking.

You are an important voice in the LC blogging community, Linnea. Your words matter.


Two Things

  • bird baths
  • birds

It’s clear to me

In addition to “chemo curls,” which I probably shouldn’t admit I’m starting to enjoy because now I look like every other old woman with a bad hairdo,   another fine parting gift chemotherapy gives you is cataracts. If not new ones, the rapid advancement of existing ones.

I had lens replacement surgery on my left eye this morning.  Took ten minutes.

AS the kids say, O.M.G.

We’re going to have to move now because now I can see every speck of dirt in every worn corner of this old house.

Also, the wrinkles on my face. Where did those come from?  Must be the new lens adjusting.  It will clear up I’m sure.

Also, I think there’s any extra cat or two living here I didn’t see before.

Beats all, this modern medicine.

Thanks, cancer!

To the moon, Alice…

I’m not an effusive person, but I did (kinda) jump up and (kinda) shout “Yes!” during last night’s State of the Union address when President Obama announced Vice President Biden, who recently lost his son Beau to cancer, would be “mission control” in a Moonshot for Cancer.

So, yea/yay for  MY PEEPS (And your peeps, too, whereever you get treatment.)

Also, I found this interesting.  It was linked in the Forbes article.

A quick little post

… before my dog absconds with the package of cream cheese I left out on the counter.

I don’t have anything to say on this Christmas Eve that’s insightful or inspirational, except eat whatever you want (as long as it doesn’t kill you) and Be Here Now.

I love following your blogs and getting email notifications of new posts. I’ve fallen behind on reading this month what with grandkids out of school for the holidays, Christmas and medical appointments (speaking of medical appointments at medical places, these** are fun to look at)  but I look forward to catching up soon.

I’m so fortunate to be here this Christmas. And so grateful that I have the opportunity to thank all of you whose blogs I follow for sharing your lives with me through your beautiful writing, your wisdom, your courage and your humor.  I feel like I’ve made so many new friends.

Peace and light and joy today, tomorrow and all of your days for you and those you love.

I’m holding all of you in my heart — especially my new LC blogger community.

Now, go eat stuff you don’t need and blog the recipes.

Happy Festivus!

** You thought I was going to show you pictures of my scans, didn’t you?  Silly.  No, they are Christmas wreaths that line the skyway from the main building at MD Anderson to the Mays building.  It’s a pretty fair walk if you don’t take the shuttle, so the wreaths make the walk worth it.

Words and pictures

My blogging buddy and friend over at BrainPickles ended a recent email to me with this favorite:

‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last,  ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’

‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.’


I know I’ve been out of touch lately, but what happened to the verb “lend”?  Did we lose it?  Or ban it?  Or lend it to someone and they never returned it?  Best I can guess is it’s been replaced with “loan,” which I thought all these years was a noun. You don’t use nouns as verbs, do you?

And “snuck”?  When did that replace “sneaked”?


Recently the 7-year old grandson and I were in the final moves of a savage game of Go Fish.

I asked for all his Whales.

He pulled 3 Whales out of his hand and slapped them down in front of me.

“Dammit!” he said and laughed nervously.

Seven years old.  Dammit (the children’s spelling). The mom reflex kicked in.  But, as I started to open my mouth to chide him for his language I thought, so what? Dammit is a perfectly fine, cathartic word I consider appropriate if you have to hand over 3 Whales when you’re this close to skunking yer old Didi at cards.

Whose sensibilities would I tell him we shouldn’t offend? The Bible thumpers who think cussing is a sin?  Please.  They’ve offended me  enough already.

Go for it kid.  Dammit.


Anita at SciFiKnitter shared the best response I’ve heard for the stupid question that perpetuates the stigma of lung cancer, “Did you smoke?”

Does it matter?

She attributes the response to Deanna Hendrickson, of LCMSChat.
Thanks, Deanna.


I’m thrilled for Jimmy Carter and his great test results, but words matter.


Seems Jimmy Carter and I both got good news last week. I had my first PET/CT scans after completing treatment. The original tumor, which was quite large, is gone and there is No Evidence of Disease (NED).

I want to be clearer than Carter’s people were.  No tumor does not mean cure and that there are no cancer cells in my body.  They could just be small and hiding, ready to grow again.

What these pictures mean is I’m in “remission,” according to my oncologist, so today and every day it stays that way is mighty fine with me. Dammit.


My daughter is really, really good at voices — imitating and making up her own. I’ve always wanted her commit this from Auntie Mame to memory so she could entertain her old mother (which I’m sure some of you are thinking about now, doesn’t take much.)

“Bunny Bixler and I were in the semi-finals—the very semi-finals, mind you—of the ping-pong tournament at the club and this ghastly thing happened. We were both playing way over our heads and the score was 29-28. And we had this really terrific volley and I stepped back to get this really terrific shot. And I stepped on the ping-pong ball! I just squashed it to bits. And then Bunny and I ran to the closet of the game room to get another ping-pong ball and the closet was locked! Imagine? We had to call the whole thing off. Well, it was ghastly. Well, it was just ghastly.”

Two Things

  • Auntie Mame
  • Board games

See all Two Things


Maybe I’m a little on edge because later this week I’ll have my first scans since completing treatment at MD Anderson.  This nervousness is called “scanxiety,” I understand.  Ha, ha.  Cancer is hilarious.

Or maybe I’m a little agitated because I’m going through withdrawal from the prednisone I was taking for radiation pneumonitis.

Or maybe I’ve just had a gutful of hilarity from national butt boil (if butt boils were funny) Donald Trump.  (Please. Go away now.)

Whatever is making me anxious has picked a scab — one I became aware of only after I became a member of the cancer community.  It’s the stigma surrounding lung cancer and smoking.

I was working on a post and about ready to go with it when I saw this short-and-sweet over at Gray Connections. She says what I wanted to say better than I could.   Thanks, Janet.

Anyone can get lung cancer.  Even non-smokers, so please be kind to each other.


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