Here’s how I knew that today is Monday. All day of it.
Yup. It’s a Monday alright. All damn day long. Did I mention that?
Here’s how I knew that today is Monday. All day of it.
Yup. It’s a Monday alright. All damn day long. Did I mention that?
Have you ever wanted to leave a different impression on folks around you than you actually do?
Yeah, me too.
In high school, boys found me cute. Now to all you high school age boys reading this, please note that the way to a girl’s ummm, heart, is not via the word “cute.” By the end of my senior year, I had had it with that word. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my older sister, Judy, was seriously sexy. Nope. Nothing to do with that.
As I entered English class one day, my friend Jonathan was still chuckling over something adorably cute I had said or done in the class we had together earlier in the day.
“Elyse,” he said, chuckling, “you are so cute!”
“Really?” I responded. “Damn it, I always wanted to be voluptuous.
Jonathan’s mouth, no doubt, is still hanging open.
Years later when I played basketball for a law school team (I was an honorary student at the time with gym privileges), I wanted to be tall. Very tall. Sadly, tallness is something you cannot fake. Especially if you are 5 foot 2. Damn. And did I mention that I’m slow, too? Yeah. Molasses.
But I’m resourceful, so when my opposing guard, all 12 feet of her, hovered over me whenever I got down court towards my basket, I improvised. I shot the ball from center court. Of course I made the shot. Alas it was before you got 3 points for such skill.
Shooting hoops is a skill that has helped me throughout my lifetime. I am never, ever, out of reach of the trash basket. Yes, I am that good.
As I’ve aged, though, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would never be either voluptuous or tall. So I wanted to be intimidating. Physically intimidating. At 5’2″. You got a problem with that?
You’ll be pleased to know that now, and for the near future, I could scare the hell out of you. Or anybody. If only I’d remember to.
Where I live, the guys who design the roads like to pretend that we are waaaaay out in the country. They do this by insisting on putting one lane bridges over bridges that cross streams connecting two pieces of major roads. These road designers either have bizarre senses of humor or a sadistic streak. Maybe both.
As you drive towards the one lane bridge, you note a white line and a “yield to oncoming traffic” sign.
It’s terribly quaint. You are expected to take turns.
But this is 2014, and there are lots of overachievers around here who flunked only one course on the way to their advanced degrees: Turn Taking.
On Sunday, I approached one of these bridges, slowed down, and stopped at the white line. It was the oncoming car’s turn. After the driver of the oncoming car went, I started forward to take my turn.
Flying down the hill towards me and the one lane bridge I hadn’t yet reached, was someone who didn’t know how to take turns. And she wasn’t going to stop her Mercedes SUV for me.
My mouth ran on with some choice words, but my foot wisely pressed the brake, and the collision that would have otherwise occurred, didn’t. But I was, pissed. And swearing. And really wishing that I was a frightening, imposing looking person so that I could chase after the asshole and confront her. Yell at her. Threaten her. Teach her how to wait for her bloomin’ turn.
A mile down the road I stopped short and pulled over.
“SHIT!” I shouted as I realized that I had missed my chance. My chance to stand in front of someone and scare them. To make them wonder just what I am capable of. To wonder if they would be able to survive an encounter with me. All 5’2″ of me.
Because you see, these days I’m a wee bit scary looking. I look like I’ve been in a knife fight. Like an abused wife. But like someone likely gave way more than she got.
Yup. You can call me Scarface.
Remember last month when I told you about the Valentine’s gift I got? You remember, don’t you — I got melanoma! (Although, I would have preferred flowers.)
In the intervening weeks, I’ve de-melanoma’d. Yup, I’ve had it taken out by a plastic surgeon. And while I will look just fine in two shakes of a dog’s tail, right now I look a bit intimidating.
AND I DIDN’T USE IT! I didn’t chase after her and make her fear for her life! I didn’t teach her how to take turns! Damn it! I coulda been a contender!
* * *
This was just a little ditty to let you know that I had my surgery, that I am now cancer free and just fine, thank you very much.
But what about you? Did you do what I told you? (No comments from you, Guap!)
Save your skin. Right now. Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:
Even though I look pretty scary now, I won’t for long. But I won’t forget to use what I have — I will intimidate assholes for several weeks until my scar fades.
But you know what? The real way I’ll get back at folks who don’t know how to take turns is to take away their sunscreen. That’ll fix ‘em!
Anybody who has read my blog knows that I’m really not keen on holidays. Nope. It stems from the fact that my family members have a nasty habit of dying on holidays. It’s a competition. Mostly, it’s an annoying game if you’re not playing. AND I AM NOT PLAYING!
So I approached last Friday with a little bit of trepidation. Valentine’s Day. You’ll no doubt forgive me, but I hate to answer the phone on holidays, even manufactured ones.
But this Valentine’s Day changed my mind.
Yup. It’s true. From now on, I love Valentine’s Day. And it has nothing to do with my husband, with chocolate or with flowers. This Valentine’s Day, somebody saved my life. And she did it by giving me the most terrifying news anybody ever has to hear.
Yup. It was my doctor. And she told me I have cancer. But just a little bit. Because unlike with pregnancy, you can be ‘a little bit’ cancerous.
In all honesty, I knew it was coming. I’ve know it for years. Because I grew up a Cheeto. My idyllic childhood was spent here, at my beach, hastening the inevitable.
For my entire childhood, I was baked to a crackly crunch. Nobody ever used sunscreen or wore a hat. Or sat under an umbrella. If you put anything on your skin it was OIL to quick-fry you.
When the phone rang on Valentine’s Day, I sighed. I don’t hear good news on a holiday. You know that.
The call was to give me results of a biopsy done on a weird spot on my face. A spot that had been there for quite a while, and that she had looked at several times before. It had been ugly, but only damaging to my self-image. Now? It had become dangerous.
“Elyse, I’m so sorry — it’s malignant.”
That’s not something one ever wants to hear, no matter what day it is. I’m proud to say, I took the news fairly stoically. Well, kind of. OK, a little bit stoically. (I have a reputation to uphold, here.) I fell apart later. Minutes later.
She went on to explain that the cancer was brand new — caught really early. It hadn’t grown down, which is when it becomes serious. It hadn’t even expanded out very far. It wasn’t advanced, but I’d need to have it taken off and then I would be fine. And that I should never go outside again without sunblock.
“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, Elyse. And on Valentine’s Day!”
Now, now, bloggin’ buddy, don’t worry. Remember, I am a fake medical expert. I know just what to do. In fact, I asked for this diagnosis. Well, sort of.
You do not need to make your plans to attend a virtual funeral. I’m not going to die. Well, actually, I will, but it’s a good bet this spot on my face will not be involved. No need to plan the fiesta.
Because mine is a ZERO.
If you have to have cancer, you want to be a Stage ZERO. I don’t know how that still means I have it, but still. Zero is good. Ish.
I have Stage ZERO lentigo maligna melanoma. It’s basically a sunspot gone bad. I have already seen two doctors, and in the next couple of weeks, I will have it removed by a plastic surgeon. And bye-bye cancer!
So why does this make me LIKE Valentine’s Day? Why don’t I just add it to my list of hated holidays?
Because the diagnosis saved my life. Really.
The cancer has been caught at the earliest possible point – it just started being cancer. It hasn’t dug it’s nasty roots deeply into my face, it hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes. It hasn’t metastasized to any one of a dozen organs.
If I hadn’t gotten that call?
If I hadn’t had that biopsy?
If I hadn’t seen my dermatologist?
Then, and only then, my melanoma would have become deadly.
Now, why am I telling you all this?
It’s not to get some bloggy love, although that is always welcome.
It’s because I want to save your skin. Right now. Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:
I could give you the statistics that I’ve naturally been reading compulsively. But I won’t. You’re welcome.
Instead I’ll give you a song by Eva Cassidy, a brilliant, talented singer who died of melanoma at age 33. I have long loved her music, and have included her in some of my most heart-felt stories. She was also the subject of a moving story on Nightline.
But I’m not trying to make you sad. I’m not trying to drum up sympathy for me (because really, I will be fine). But for all of us, for all those who love us, it is really important to remember: It is a Wonderful World. Let’s all hang around.
Please join me in saying thanks to the nurse practitioner who just didn’t think that spot on my face looked right, and biopsied it. Megan, I will think of you every Valentine’s Day for the rest of my life. Thanks to you, I have a shot at it being a very long one indeed.
Now – you guys reading this – go check out your damn skin. What are you waiting for? GO!
Me, I’m busily thinking up intriguing stories to tell folks when they see that I have a scar on my cheek …
Perhaps I’ll get a pirate hat and a parrot!
Nope, this isn’t a dozen roses.
Not a box of chocolates (milk — I wouldn’t dream of giving you dark).
Not skimpy underwear.
Just some important information from a fake medical professional and expert patient to ensure you can get those from someone else next year. And the next. And the next.
Know the signs and share this one with your friends.
* * *
It’s not Valentine’s Day, it’s Wear Red Day. Red for heart disease. It’s the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.
You may find this surprising, but today I agree with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R-12th Century).
According to today’s Washington Post, Huck knows him some women. And so he can point the way for his entire party, nay, the entire country, to make women ummmmmmm, Man Up.
We women, especially those who live close to the economic edge that GOP policies and politics have placed us at, don’t have any control over our libidos. And so we need “Uncle Sugar” to massage our needs with free birth control. Covered under Obamacare. The nerve of women to want to avoid pregnancy, avoid abortion, avoid abject poverty for the remainder of their lives.
Wanting to avoid co-pays. The scum.
[Text provided cause I know you aren't gonna click on that link and for some reason the video won't embed]:
The Washington Post Reported:
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) said Thursday that Republicans need to take a more combative attitude toward winning the votes of women, by emphasizing that women aren’t weaklings in need of help from the government.
“I think it’s time Republicans no longer accept listening to the Democrats talk about a ‘war on women,’” Huckabee said during a speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Washington. “The fact is the Republicans don’t have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.” [...]
Huckabee said Democrats tell women “they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.”
Yes, Mike Huckabee is right.
Because when I see him, hear him, I cannot control myself. I want. I want. I want.
I want to shout:
I am so tired of Huckabee and the rest of the male-dominated GOP that is hell bent on keeping as many women in poverty as possible. Barefoot and pregnant, that’s how they like us. And so I repeat:
Of course, now I will be accused of bestiality AND being unable to control my libido.
And I gotta figure out just exactly how this jives with yesterday’s enlightening story about Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) who believes that a wife is supposed to “voluntarily submit” to her husband. Life must be damn confusing for Republican women. The two who are still Republicans, that is.