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Let someone else be inspirational, for fuck’s sake. It ain’t me.

Frankly, all of this has caught up with me. Cancer ruined my summer, and took the wind out of my sails. Pardon the cliche. And the hormone therapy that was prescribed for me (tamoxifen) was basically a nightmare. I took it for three weeks and just — stopped. Otherwise, I was going to take a header in front of a moving L train. It was that fucking bad.

So no, I’m not going for the “Most Inspirational” sash to strap across my aftermarket boobs.

In other news

It makes me sad that a tragedy brought a sport I enjoy and in which my family has participated for many, many years to national attention. Mainly because what you see in the media about the Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward, Jr., incident is so ignorant and uninformed that it would be laughable if it wasn’t so painful to watch, read, and listen to. Add the idiocy of internet “experts” to this (“I read about it on Wikipedia, so I’m now an expert!”), and you’ve got a special kind of stupid happening.

The death of Kevin Ward, Jr., last week at a sprint car race in Canandaigua, NY, is terribly sad, but the sad fact is that the kid was the principal agent of his own demise. Maybe not because he got out of his race car — drivers do that all the time — but because instead of leaving his vehicle and moving to a safe area outside the field of racing, he deliberately ran onto a hot track and into oncoming traffic. You just don’t do that. No, I won’t post the video. It’s terrible to watch.

The idea that Tony Stewart ran him down like a dog in the road, or aimed his race car at him, or even that he was going to spray dirt on him to show him what a tough guy he is, is so beyond ignorant that you should immediately dismiss anyone who posts this theory.

But-but-but…everyone knows Tony Stewart is a hothead who once threw his helmet at another race car! Maybe so. It’s documented that Stewart has a temper. In the video of this incident, you do see what appears to be some road rage happening, but hint, hint: The one who is road-raging isn’t Tony Stewart.  On the prior lap, it appears Ward tried to squeeze past Stewart on the outside and got pinched against the wall and wrecked. Happens all the time at sprint car races. Yellow flag thrown, racers decelerate to caution speeds. This time, Ward got out of his car and went looking for Stewart (I assume this is so — you can see him dodging other cars and pointing very specifically). Accident happened.

I’m not even a Tony Stewart fan. But the witch hunt mentality by the uninformed and the stupid is ridiculous, and it’s pissing me off.

Had Ward been struck by any of the other cars whizzing by that narrowly avoided hitting him, I’m betting this wouldn’t have gone past the local news station, and only the sprint car community would be talking about this and mourning this young man’s death. And they would be calling it what it was — an accident. But because it was Stewart, who nudged him into the wall, the media immediately had to turn this into a fight, a confrontation, some sort of testosterone battle.

I wonder if it hadn’t been Stewart that put the squeeze on Ward’s car if he would have run into the track at all?

I know there are probably some chuckleheads who are already puffing up like toads and getting ready to say, “Who is this New York City fashion person to have an opinion about this?” Am I an expert on this subject? BY NO MEANS. But believe it or not, I actually kind of know a little of what I’m talking about when it comes to sprint car racing. My oldest brother has raced a sprint car in western Pennsylvania for decades, and my other two brothers both wrenched for him and for other drivers (in PA and CA). So I’ve been to my fair share of sprint car races, probably more than anyone reading this page.

Here’s my brother running hot laps at Sharon Speedway many moons ago:

John hot laps at Sharon Spdwy

 

Here are my other brothers, working on a race team (I believe this is the McMahans) in California:

James and Chuck McMahan racing

 

For my birthday last year, I didn’t want to go to Paris, or Hawaii, or Niagara Falls. I wanted to go to the races in the middle of Bumfuck, Pennsylvania. Here is a picture of me with World of Outlaws driver Paul McMahan in the pits at Williams Grove last October:

Paul McMahan Wms Grove Natl Open 2013

 

Net-net: Race tracks are inherently dangerous places. Walking into the path of oncoming cars, even ones running under caution (which is 40-50mph),  is suicidal.

This is actually a pretty good primer about how sprint cars work – super-basic but fine for people who don’t know anything about them. If you’re going to have an opinion about this, at least be somewhat informed.

And for God’s sake, don’t get your information about sprint car racing from Charlie Rose, NPR, or the New York Times.

One last note, for all you internet experts out there — these are not NASCAR events. People seem to be getting confused by the NASCAR-Sprint Cup moniker, which has nothing at all to do with sprint car racing.

(PS – if you’ve got a track nearby, you should go. It’s fun. Loud and dusty, but if you love the smell of methanol, dirt, and Schaefer beersweat, you’ll probably like it.)

Actually, I thank science, good doctors, and the company for which I work.

(From the “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” department.)

1.  White men

2.  Christians

3.  Gun Owners

4.  MRA’s

I’m talking to you, Duck Dynasty phony-baloney coonass dudes, Bundy Ranch brigade, Ted Nugent, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher,  any Palin (excluding Michael), and George Zimmerman.

Tech Support!

There is a tiny little picture of me up in the top left corner of my screen next to the title of this blog that I can’t get rid of. I’ve gone through all of my blog settings, I’ve gone to gravatar, I’ve gone through all the media associated with this blog, and I can’t git it gone. URRGGGH. so frustrating.

Interestingly, the correct image that I want associated with the blog is appearing in the top right corner of the screen next to my username.

It is a picture of Jesus in a dog’s ass, in case you’re wondering.

Healing is Weird

When you allow strangers to inflict grave insults on your machine while you are unconscious, like opening up your mammary glands, hacking off your nipples, scooping out all of the breast tissue therein, then slicing your belly open from hip to hip, excavating a layer of fat and blood vessels and using that tissue to reinflate the aforementioned fat sacs, then yanking your belly skin down like a roller blind and creating a new belly button, you should probably expect to have some pains in the aftermath.

If, like me, your machine has been ridiculously, almost vulgarly robust for half a century, voluntarily incapacitating any part of it seems counter-intuitive, weird and wrong, and yet, well, there is that whole cancer thing.

I’m lucky in that I have a stupidly high tolerance for pain (haven’t touched anything stronger than an aspirin or ibuprofen since I left the hospital), which is good in that I tend to be sort of stolid and bovine in the face of it, but it’s also bad, because it means I probably “power through” things that send regular folks running to doctors. (See previous post, where you’ll note that I had CHEST PAINS and didn’t go to an emergency room. Who does that?) It’s also bad because it tends to make me a wee bit unsympathetic and all “Walk it off!”  towards others.

When I got home from the hospital, I had minor post-surgical pains. (Well, they were minor to me.) Once I got past the terror of that  first sneeze (which has steps that run like this:  feel sneeze coming, hug pillow to abdomen as hard as you can, try to not cry, try to make it a tiny little cat sneeze,  feel like you have split your torso open and your intestines will pour out of your body if you move that pillow as the pain flashes outward from your incision so fast and so white-hot that it almost doesn’t register as pain, lift pillow and inspect area with extreme trepidation, feel relief that intestines are still on the correct side of skin), my pain has been manageable and minor.

First, can we talk about the “zingers?” Zingers are basically sharp, stabby pains in my breasts, that are kind of like hot needles being shot through them. In my research, I’ve learned that these are nothing to worry about — just nerve endings trying to find each other and  knit back together. During my leave, I could massage the area and the pain would abate. This will not fly now that I’m back at work, but I’m working on a whole new category of poker faces to show during meetings.

This was me a few times this past week:


One of my favorite movies of all time, btw.

I can now raise both arms almost all the way above my head without pain. This is HUGE, or as we say in Pittsburgh, YUGE. When I got home from the hospital, I couldn’t lift either arm higher than shoulder level. If I reach too high, I do get a reminder from my torso that um, yeah, no, you don’t want to do that. So, no weight lifting yet, but soon, with light weights, I’m sure.

My torso is feeling so weird, though. Numb and tight and tingly, all at the same time. I understand that this is normal post-tummy tuck. I did wear abdominal binders for three weeks and those hateful compression garments for the last two weeks, and was able to stop both this week. Strangely enough, I kind of miss the compression garment (it’s a sort of super-duper-Spanx-like garment).  There was something comforting and hug-like about it. I didn’t like walking around without a compression something this afternoon, and in fact, felt sore and tired after running errands with Dood. But, that could have been the heat, too.

Side note: word from the oncologist is that he does want me to consider tamoxifen. Boo. We are re-convening at the end of July to discuss further, since he won’t start me on it until I’m 3 months out from smoking anyway.

Did I mention that I’m still not smoking right now? I did try a puff on one of Dude’s American Spirits one night, and it was disgusting. So, that’s 7 weeks now! The near-total lack of craving makes me suspect the surgical team may have been horse-whispering me while I was unconscious.

In January 2013 I caught a bad flu, and I was down for nearly 10 days. It was awful, but what was worse was the cough that hung around for nearly 2 months afterward. I finally went to the doctor for the cough when I started having chest pains on the left side of my chest. Chest pains! Alarming!

After examining me, the doctor diagnosed costochondritis, which is basically…chest pain. The treatment recommended was Tylenol and time. So, when it flares up, take an OTC and it should go away eventually.

A year later I’m diagnosed with invasive breast cancer on the left side of my chest, have a mastectomy, and I realize that those chest pains have disappeared. Of course, there are a whole host of other “chest” pains I’ve been having since my surgery, but that particular subset of chest pains is just gone.

Not that the chest pains have anything to do with my breast cancer, but as Tucker Carlson or Bill O’Reilly might say, I’M JUST SAYIN’.

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