Thursday, September 17, 2015

What matters.

I like to listen to talk radio, T.V. talk shows, and scan through the interwebs.  I like to know what people are doing and what they're thinking about.  However, I've been frustrated lately.  Everywhere I turn, someone is outrageously offended by something.

At school, I am constantly saying to students "mind your own business" and "worry about yo'self" to defuse all sorts of inter-student conflicts and minimize classroom disruptions.  Then, in my free time, I browse through my zombie-mind-control-personal-mobile-device and realize:

The children growing up in our electronically obsessed world think that all the things on that little screen represent REAL LIFE.  On those zombie-screens, everybody is meddling inside everybody else's business!  I'm willing to bet my right boob (which I've spent considerable effort saving) that many children/teenagers (and adults) spend more time staring at those little screens than they do sleeping.   Of course they can't keep peacefully to themselves!!

I didn't watch the political debates last night, but everyone is picking apart the words of Donald Trump today.   And, ala The View, looking for their next comment to screech about or for a screen shot to meme on.

Speaking of The View, they made a derogatory comment about nurses the other day.  I know this because all my nurse friends were outraged on social media.  Don't get me wrong - I love nurses.  Given my life-circumstances the past 10 months, I literally owe nurses/medical professionals my life.  I appreciate them to no ends.  But did Joy's comment really have to blow up the internet?  The fact that I know Joy's name off the top of my head is silly.   It doesn't matter.

Or how about KSU's Marching Band scandal.  So.  Many.  Ridiculous.  People.  It doesn't matter.  I had a dentist appointment today and my hygienist brought it up and we laughed about all the silliness, and she said "It even made Jimmy Fallon!"  So I looked it up and watched his monologue.  He showed the clip and spent all of 9 seconds talking/laughing about it.  9 seconds.  Regionally, Kansas was in an uproar over it for 4 - 6 days.  It doesn't matter.

You know what I like about Jimmy Fallon?  Laughter.  All the ridiculous things that happen in the media and otherwise, instead of getting upset and ranting about it, he makes it into a joke.  I know that is his job, but it appears so natural that I think he's that way outside of his work.

And then there's Ahmed.  The boy who built a clock and brought it to school and was arrested because they thought it was a bomb.   His arrest has been "sharply" criticized.  Obama even commented on it (which I loved his response! - Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.)  But people are so upset at the teacher for taking precautions.  Especially given his nationality.  What IF it had been a bomb!!??  Thank you, teacher, for reporting it.  Fortunately, it wasn't.  It was just a very intelligent young man using his brains creating something awesome.  But Ahmed is so offended by the whole thing that he wants to switch schools.  What?  *shaking head*  I laugh.  Because its FUNNY!  And it doesn't matter!

In the end, I'm really just a hypocrite, because I'm sitting here being outrageously offended by all the offended people everywhere, and passing judgement on what's important and what isn't.  haha...  But, no, really.  Want to know what I ACTUALLY find offensive?  The amount of people in the last 10 months who have looked at, touched, and sliced open my breasts.  The amount of eyeballs that stare at me when I'm not wearing my hair.  Offended that cancer decided to infiltrate MY body.  Even then, I choose to be calm, happy, accepting, grateful, and push through and heal anyway.  All that other stuff.... Let it go.  It doesn't matter.  I'm a fan of intelligent debates and conversation.  But do we really need to get so worked up about everything all the time?  Unless you have that darn whip and nae nae song stuck in your head.  Now there's a legitimate reason to be upset!

If you put any stock into the Myers-Briggs personality categories, my biggest affliction is that I'm an INFJ.  All the crap that people project out when they are unhappy about something - I soak that right in.  That young man who I asked to pull his pants up in my class yesterday, and he sulked for the rest of class: I soak that in.  That disgruntled teenager angst.  And it stays with me much longer than it should.  I gotta stop doing that.

Composting.  Giving all that stuff back to the earth to be recycled into something good.
Or, the Zen approach.  Noticing feelings and emotions, but letting them roll right on through you, like waves in the ocean.

Let it go.

Media doesn't let anything go.  However, if I committed to an If-you-can't-beat-'em-join-them approach, who can I bribe to say something stupid about #workyourproperdutyday and have that go viral!?!?

I know I'm writing in circles here.  And what matters or doesn't matter is relative to the person.   However, what's important, and I hope my words and actions portray this in my classroom everyday, is that we treat each other kindly and do our best.  That we are accepting, grateful, and contribute to each other's healing, instead of the opposite.  And what matters or doesn't matter, doesn't make a difference in embodying that approach everyday.

In closing, here's something that matters to me.  On The View (of all places, given all the offended friends of nurses), they invited on 2 teachers and a group of students because of a video that went viral on social media.  (Using the power of social media for good!!!)  Its a teacher who was diagnosed with breast cancer, around the same time as myself.  Her colleague, the music teacher, put together a student performance of Martina McBride's "I'm gonna love you through it", which is about loving someone through the trials of cancer.  They told her story and sang it to her again on The View and Martina McBride showed up too.  It was pretty neat.  And I'm glad I had the day off today (due to my dentist appt) and happened to watch it.  I felt her experience parallel to mine.  We ended chemotherapy in the same month.  We started radiation at about the same time.  We both had amazing colleagues and students "loving us through it".  Very touching.  Grab your Kleenex box!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Superman's tattoo and Tig

Forgot a couple things when I sat down to blog today:

A picture of Superman's actual tattoo.  The symbols around it, he already had (they stand for "father, teacher, friend")

Isn't it adorable!?!?!?!  I'm not generally a fan of pink, but for some reason, I LOVE it here.  LOVE IT!  I want one.

Also, a friend introduced us to a documentary called "Tig", which is currently playing on Netflix.  Its about the comedian Tig Notaro, and her own real-life story of breast cancer.  It might be my favorite thing I've seen all year/decade.  So basically she was diagnosed with breast cancer (immediately after going through a bunch of other hard lifey things), and she went ahead and did a scheduled comedy show shortly after.  Cancer was on her mind, obviously, so her material revolved around that.  And its the most amazing cry-laughy thing I've ever heard.  In fact, it changed her career.  That very show is released on an album called "Live" (not pronounced "Live" (as in Saturday night Live)  but "Live" (I will Live for today).   I bought the album immediately and have already listened to it twice.  

Trailer for the documentary:


I started my radiation treatments yesterday.  I glow in the dark now (...just kidding).

Here's some pictures:
I'm being placed under the machine and lining up my tattoo dots with the lasers.

From the control panel, while I'm inside.

So, everyday, a total of about 2 mins my chest gets microwaved.  It takes more time for me to get dressed into a gown and situated on the table than it does for the actual treatment.  Once a week, they will add a couple minutes to take some x ray pictures.  On Monday's, I see my Radiation Oncologist.  On Wednesday's, I pee in a cup (pregnancy test, as a precaution).  And that's about it.  Super-easy.  

So, 2 down.  31 more to go.

In honor of starting this joyous set of final steps, here is a song favorite (a former orchestra student showed this to me):

Friday, September 4, 2015

Glass, #iheartveggies, zen, my hair plan, and soulmates

This week, I bought a coffee sip-top that fits on mason jars.  A company called "Cappow".

Omg.  I will never drink coffee or tea from a plastic portable cup, by choice, ever again.  The taste difference is AMAZING!!  I already had a glass water bottle, which my mom bought me.  It was recommended for chemo patients because they are sensitive to metal and plastic tastes of those type of containers.  I love my glass water bottle.  In fact, I accidentally lost it and almost immediately replaced it with another one.  So I was curious about substituting glass for my other beverage containers.  Its so awesome.  And environmentally friendly.  And I just feel like its better.  No secret BPA chemicals or anything else hiding in my daily consumed beverages.   I will be buying more.  And getting a coozie for them.  And maybe getting some of the lunch box type items too.  I use them for my breakfast smoothies too.  Cappow!  They are awesome.

I've been doing a good job of eating healthy consistently too.  In fact, when I eat something that is a less healthy choice, I feel gross afterwards.  Like, that food doesn't belong in my body.

And this next statement is shocking.

I.  Crave. Vegetables.

Its so weird.  We had parent teacher conferences today, and I spent all morning dreaming about going to Planet Sub and getting their Meatless Masterpiece sandwich.  Mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives, cream cheese, whole wheat bread.  yummy yummy.  I fulfilled that dream and it met every one of my expectations.

I'm also drinking my first ever Matcha tea.  A Matcha Mocha actually.  Which is supposed to be the king of all antioxidants.    its SUPER GREEN.  A popular drink in Japan for Zen Buddhists when they meditate.  Yep, right up my alley.  My new zen self.

I left work at 3:38 today.  Yes!  And have a full Labor Day weekend ahead of me, without any work to do.  (except for two things I'm finishing up here at the coffee shop before I head home).

So I found a girl who documented her hair growth after her chemo treatment (which was the same as mine) and my hair seems to be doing about the same thing as hers.

I'm 8 weeks out right now.  My eyebrows and my eyelashes are almost fully grown back in.  They sprouted up out of nowhere!!!  It seemed seriously like overnight.  I just use a little bit of eyebrow filler now to darken up the outsides where its still a little thin.  In her video, there's such a difference between week 9 and week 10!!  So here's my plan:  I'm going to get my first "haircut" at about 10 weeks.  The sides of my hair are definitely sticking out around my ears.  That could use a trim, at the very least.  My hair lady could possibly do some magic and shape it into something pixie and cute.  Maybe do some color so its not so drab and grey looking (my hair is just a boring ash brownish-grey with about 20 actual silver-grey hairs popping through). And then put the wig away for good!!

I have loved my wig, and it served me well.  But I'm so over it.  Itchy, hot, and fly-aways in my face all the time.  But I love its color.  I think I'll strive to match that color while I wait for my hair to return to its original pigment.  Which, according to google, it will after a certain amount of time.

Well, I start my radiation on Tuesday.  I won't be allowed to wear deodorant or lotion during the week.  That could be interesting!!  And I have to use a certain kind of soap and massive amounts of aloe on my skin.  I also can't wear normal underwire bras.  Oversized sports bras, is what they said.   The ones I have already are not too tight, so I think they will work.  But I found a couple more this afternoon at a sale at the Gap.  (40% off everything this weekend!  Holy cow!  I bought 3 pairs of jeans, some shorts, and a couple tops along with the sports bras..  I saved mucho bucks!)  I'm just worried about how it will feel on my skin, when it starts becoming raw.  Google recommends 100% cotton and super soft.  Well, sports bras are usually spandex and other stretchy stuff.  Not cotton.  So at some point I might break down and buy some really nice 100% cotton specialty ones made special for radiation patients.  We will see.

So, aside from the daily reminder with my wig, scars, and avoiding lifting things with my right arm, its almost as if I never had cancer at all.  I do however get noticeably run down after lunchtime.  I have decided that from now on, after full recovery or not, that I will take a power nap after lunch.  I bought one of those zero-gravity chairs set up behind my desk at work.  So about 20 minutes before my afternoon classes, I drop everything, sit in my reclining chair with a pillow and a blanket and close my eyes.  There's tons of evidence on the all-mighty Google that all people on the planet should be doing this anyway.  The power of the power nap.

Oh, one more thing.  Superman presented me with a surprise tattoo a few weeks ago, to celebrate the good news from my surgery.  This isn't a picture of his actual one, but it is the same design and he had it outlined in two shades of pink in addition to the black:

I love it so much, I might have to get it too.  (you would think I would be over the whole needle thing by now....)

Also, I came home last night and found him watching "When Harry Met Sally".  After I laughed at him, he informed me that it was in his top 5 favorite movies.  I knew marrying him was the right decision.  If my fourteen year old self had known that this was how my life would turn out, my adolescence would've been much less unsettling!  :D