Sunday, November 30, 2008

A fraction of a day in the life in the less-talented, female Larry David. After a day of lounging and chilling at the house, we made it to the Saks and Gucci outlets. I relented and bought two pairs of size 28 jeans. And then these totally hot gold, strappy Gucci sandals, which Saveira bought as well.

(I think I've shared that Brother's new girlfriend and I have been instant BFFs since we first talked on Facebook.)

Well, the most fabulous news ever came out of yesterday--Saveira fits in purrrrrrrrfectly with our crew's style of shopping. And I foresee her accompanying Lynn, Gail, Mom and me on many a girls' shopping trip.

Here's where the Larry David part starts. We drove through Starbucks on the way home. Naturally, the adolescent working the shit filled my Americano to the brim with scalding coffee, in between trying to pour some out of the door and then putting the lid back on, I spilled the burning stuff all over my crotch, the carseat, floor etc. I screamed because it was painful. Then I realized that my mint-condition, Jackie O. suede Gucci bag--which I rarely carry precisely because liquids and suede are arch enemies--and I screamed again and threw the bag back to Saveira. She sprung right into action like a true fashionista friend, as panicked for the suede's state as I was.

I was simulaneously freaking out about the firecrotch I had going on, while Saveira was assuring me that Jackie was still as perfect as her namesake.

"God damnit." I huffed and puffed and got out of the car, walked around to the drive-through window and knocked. Saveira later told me that she was thinking, 'Oh, this is going to be good.'

"Stephanie, get back here, you're not burned!"

"I think management should know that these people are filling coffee to the brim for drivers. Don't they fucking realize that driving is bumpy?"

"Ste-eph, come on."

"I'll be nice."

She put the window up and Saveira was trying to keep her laughter in check. I saw the girl, who was all of about 16--or whatever the legal working age is--and my desire to verbally pummel someone evaporated. Anticlimactic for Saveira unfortunately.

I also started my veggie and fruit fast yesterday--fucking chemo baby--and was ravenous around dinnertime. Mom and dad have been entertaining all week, and last night about 15 of us stayed in and ordered Indian food. I specifically had Michael order me something with only veggies and no cream sauce. And a side of mango chutney. Oh, and PS, delivery doesn't exist in Jacksonville, so Dad had picked it up. Out of about 20 entrees, guess what they forgot? I was famished. And fuming, and the only reason the chef didn't get an earful of obscenities was that I finally coaxed Brother, who spent nine months in India, to get on the damn phone. (After the chef said 'I think we have communication breakdown.'

They actually agreed to deliver. 30 minutes later, as everyone was pretty much done, the driver calls. He seems to be in the general vicinity but cannot find our house. We have a.) many lights lining our long driveway; and b.) a large, brick mailbox with the address clearly visible even in the dark.

Finally, food. By which point I was less hungry, so I drained the cup of oil that the vegetables were doused in and ate.

I was supposed to drive home today, but as usual got lazy and wanted one more day with Wally, who I have to leave here while I'm in Chicago. I'm listening to Candace Bushnell's newest book on my drive, and it is so utterly boring. She really needs to put the pen down.

I am thankful Thanksgiving is over and I can get back to the peace, quiet and water. And civilization. A Saks and Gucci outlet center does not a city make.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Status of Shock

I've come to a fairly accurate hypothesis regarding my Cancer Coping Mechanisms. I believe from the beginning to end of the really bad treatments, I was in shock. And luckily when I'm in shock, I don't crawl into bed, I go into hyperactive manic mode.

And now I find myself dealing with the longer-lasting side effects: the loss of effortless beauty, the addition of extra pounds and puffy eyelids, and the psychological trauma of knowing that I--who even before the body mutilation felt I would never find a partner--have about a .001 % of finding one now.

(As an aside, my dad's cousin, a survivor who works for Gilda's Club, said that only after reading my story in Aventura, did they begin even to think about how BC women are affected regarding dating. This is precisely why the older organizations SUCK for us YOUNG bitches. Let me tell you Komen fuckers, we're here in greater numbers than ever. And not thinking about dating? Fucking Christ people, that is the FIRST thing any single woman with Breast Cancer is likely to think of.)

Yes, I am in full ranting mode today brought on by a pair of Seven Jeans. And my usual disclaimer: I'm grateful to be alive and cancer-free. But this is MY Cancer and currently the issues I'm dealing with are self-esteem and hopelessness regarding men, so deal with it. Pull your chemo IV closer to the screen and lose yourself in my ridiculous, selfish problems for a few minutes.

First, you should know that I used to be fat. At one point, really, really fucking fat. I was up to a size 14 in college. Hence no dating in college and not losing virginity till after. I told you guys I'm not a whore. I ballooned up and down like most girls, but once you're fat, you always see some part of that fat girl in the dressing room mirror even when you're down to a 0 or a 2.

Well. For the past five years I've been a 0, 2 or 4 depending on the label. European labels are cut smaller and American ones bigger. Retailers have taken sizes down over the years to make fat America feel not so fat. Seriously, it's a fact. 1993's size 4 would now be a size 2 etc. Also remember that I'm only 5'4. Taller skinny bitches often wear bigger sizes.

But jeans are a woman's real guage of size. I've been a 26 for about four years. I've talked about avoiding my jeans so as not to trigger a nervous breakdown the likes of which I am experiencing at this very moment. Proof? I am at home while the family is at the new Saks and Gucci outlets. But why should I go there when I can't fucking fit into fucking anything and instead of wanting to crawl into my closet and caress my beloved Versace and Chanel, which I would do if stuff fit, I want to set fire to it all.

So the jeans. It's a little cool in Jacksonville and I knew I'd have to borrow some of mom's after getting my 26s on only by lying prostrate. But when I tried her 28s and they weren't the least bit big, I freaked. I feel like a 14. And what's worse is that people telling me I look great is to me a backhanded compliment, unintentionally on their part. Of course my fam and friends are going to say I look great; I've just finished cancer treatment. What are they going to say? I look sick? Fat? Pale? They would never. But I am sick of hearing that I look good. Because I look like shit to myself and that's all that matters in my world of fashion and beauty. Currently, I'm wearing Crazy Ass's size-28 pair of Sevens that she wore when she was pregnant. That's a real confidence booster, no? I don't dress for men or other people. I dress for myself because I take pride in my appearance, I work hard on it and I like getting dressed up and made up and sylized. If I hate the way I look, I try to please myself and fail. Clothes end up all over my room; I yell at my jeans; I don't go out sometimes when I feel 'fat'; and I pass up opportunities to go to Gucci and Saks. (Not to mention all the glam parties and other social invites I decline because my lovely high-end dresses still look hideous to me.) And my fucking eyelids. PERPETUALLY puffy. Looks like I've tied one over the night before every day. And I barely drink anymore.

So I've gone up two sizes in my lower region. My small tops fit, bottoms don't. This is even scarier because I'm fearing that unless I can afford to hire a trainer, I'm going to go from a desirable hourglass shape to the dreaded pear shape. Please, god, no. Please. If 5 of my 7 post chemo pounds are gone, what the FUCK is that in my belly and ass? Seriously? Two pounds doesn't equal having to go up two jean sizes. And I know that I mentioned that I do at least 45 minutes of cardio six times a week; weights two or three; Pilates and Ashtanga yoga once a week each. And I eat well.

The only solution I can see is stepping up the gym to twice a day. If I have to work twice as hard to look good, then maybe that formula makes sense. But who the hell wants to go to the gym twice a day. Ugh.

Thanksgiving was pretty uneventful. Everone is sick. And I want to stab myself in the stomach and puncture that fucking bloody water belly. And I'm on my period. Long story short. I am very, very unhappy with my body right now. Which causes me to be unhappy in general. And short tempered and bitch. And I know that mom is going to bitch and moan about having to buy me an exp pair of jeans that (god fucking willing) I'll only have to wear for a couple more months. Which is another reason I won't go to Saks with her today. She won't let me borrow her 28s and probably won't get me a pair. So, what? It's warm up suits and dresses with tights in Chicago.

And to all you fatties, more power too you. I love my fatties and wish I could have a big basket of crispy French fries with you right now. If I could be happy being fat, I'd be shoveling Krispy Cremes into my piehole right now. My family though is beautiful, disgustingly, Hollywood beautiful. And when you're the ugly duckling for a large part of your life, trust me, you never want to relive that. My parents, as much as they will deny it and think that it makes them sound superficial, take pride in my appearance. I hate being around them when I'm feeling ugly. They don't get it. They've never been ugly.

So you know what? FUCK YOU CANCER for depriving me of the historic, brand-new Gucci and Saks outlets 20 mins away. And FUCK YOU TAXOL YOU MOTHERFUCKING, WEIGHT-GAINING PIECE OF CHEMO SHIT. I appreciate you fuckers saving my life, but Jesus Christ, can't you at least spare us our looks too? Seriously?

On a serious note, please send your prayers, positive thoughts and energy to Vicky of Chopard fame, we need to get some good energy going up there for her in the City.

The Fat Ass
(Sorry Lay, this is my title until I'm back in my jeans.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bawdy in Bermuda

This is the text from my Heeb Storytelling piece. My vid battery died near the end, but this is the gist.

(Martha Frankel, the author before me, had spoken of Quaaludes and whor-as. And blamed herself for the dearth of the drugs on the market nowadays.)

I actually have done a Quaalude Martha, and it was at my friend’s wedding at a synagogue. That’s about as Jewish as my story gets. Three years ago on my 30th birthday—the most Jewish part of this is that if my mother were not an anxious Jewish mother, this never would’ve happened.

So it’s my 30th birthday, I’m in Bermuda with my family. We had a nice dinner, we went back to our resort, which was a lot of honeymooners, adults, not young kids. And this was around the time of Natalie Holloway, that girl who was abducted in Aruba or whatever. She was like 16; I’m 30, okay.

You can imagine where this is going. So we get back to the hotel, and my mom likes to party. She’s really cool, my parents are very cool, ex-60s liberal hippies. So we get back to the Reefs and there was a wedding party going on. This was also the time of the movie Wedding Crashers. And my mom was obsessed with that movie. We’d had some wine, my mom says:

“Oh, a wedding! Wedding Crashers! Let’s crash the wedding!”

So we crashed the wedding. It was a crowd full of Canadians, really nice, really young. We partied with them for a couple hours and mom says she’s going back to the room, will leave a key for me outside the villa.

I should preface this by saying I’m not a slut.

I’m a lot of things, but I’m pretty virginal. So basically mom goes back to our little bungalow around 1 in the morning. We’re staying in this condo type of thing that’s a little hike from the main resort. I end up partying with this whole group of Canadians—girls and guys—who’re staying at the Marriott next door. (Remember, there are no cars on the Island.) We end up going over to the Marriott at like 2 a.m. They’re like in the pool skinny-dipping. I was the only clothed one, because I’m a Jew.

I was wearing boxers and maybe a bathing suit top or something.

Long story short—remember it’s my 30th birthday so give me a little leeway here—I end up hooking up with this Canadian guy. We go up to his room. And this is, you know, 2 in the morning in Bermuda, my parents and brother are staying in the resort next door. Well we go up to his room in the Marriott, and I end up falling asleep. The next thing I know, we wake up to pounding on the door—there were no fluids exchanged by the way (laughter)—I’m in one bed, he’s in the other. I look at my watch and it’s like 7 or 8 in the morning.

He opened the door: two Bermudan police officers are at the door.

“Are you Stephanie Green?” one of them asks.

“Uh, yes.”

“Can you please call your mother?”

And now the shit really hits the fan. I’m like, “huh?”

So the guy—I totally forgot his name. . .”
(Uproarious laughter and clapping)

“Hey, it was three years ago, okay? So the guy is in his boxers and is so nice. ‘Omigod, omigod, I’m so sorry I was totally going to walk you home.’”

We start freaking out and getting our shit. So he walks me outside the hotel room in his boxers and no shirt and locks himself out. (Laughter.) I was in my clothes from the night before, and I didn’t plan this but I was wearing these shoes. (I say, looking down at my three-inch high, platform Chanels.)

(Laughter from the girls.)

Now, this is another Jewish part—who does the walk of shame in Chanel but a Jew?


So he walks me through the lobby of the Marriott, which is a huge convention hotel, with boxers and no shirt on and I’m fully clothed from the night before.


So, I end up doing the walk of shame on a two lane highway with no walking path in Bermuda. And I’m you know, trying to run in these heels on the road, no sidewalk. I walk in and the whole family is like, “Where the fuck were you?”


My mom had woken up in the middle of the night—she never wakes up in the middle of the night so I figured I was safe. You know I’m 30 years old, they know I party.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and you weren’t there!”

“What the hell did you do mom?”

“We-eeeeell, I woke up and you weren’t there, so I called the lobby and there was no-one there till six in the morning so I went to the lobby at six in the morning. And I told them that you were with a bunch of Canadians in a wedding party.”

“I don’t know the name, but they were in the Canadian wedding. . .”

So the front desk guy calls the mother of the bride.

(Gasps and laughter.)

I’m not kidding. At six in the morning. The mother of the bride comes downstairs to the lobby at six in the morning to comfort my mom. My mom’s probably crying, hysterical, whatever. . .”


The mother of the bride starts naming guys, is it this one, that one?

They figure out who it is and the mother of the bride assures mom that he’s a nice guy, I most likely had not been abducted and that I was safe with what’s-his-name.

“But Natalie Holloway,” blah, blah, blah.


I’m 30, you know!

They get the police, who call the hotel room, we don’t answer and that’s how they ended up at the room. Even my brother, who’s totally laid back, lives on the Lower East Side, was like, “Stephanie what the fuck?”


“Dude, why the hell are you getting involved?”

“I was up all night waiting for your ass too.”

“Oh, please, you know you went back to sleep.”

“It was a little hard with mom moaning in the other room!”

“Mom, you hung out with these guys, you met them, you saw that they were upstanding, professional guys!”

“But Natalie Holloway!” blah, blah, blah.


Skinny Jeans!!!

I'm about to receive my Herceptin, and I asked Max, the nurse who takes care of me and knows—from nine mos of exp—not to tell me my weight. But I HAD to know, given my renewed gym rat status, if I'd lost anything since last time.

Remember I'd gained 7 pounds since treatment began? Well, I've lost five since October! Woo-fucking-hoo! Today after I sweat off last night's dinner, I will try on my jeans. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I never linked to this fabulously glowing post about yours' truly penned by the lovely and talented Laura Zigman. If I ever publish a book, perfect quotes!

The Girls are shouting with glee:
"Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last!"

He freed 'em on Thursday. Proclaiming them healed and good enough to go without nursing pads, non-stick gauze and paper tape.

"I can wear them without anything? Not even a bra?"

A bra if I wanted them to stay perky, perky, perky.

"So if I don't wear a bra they'll start to drop a little?" Bingo.

It feels so good. I feel like the good doctor wants to taxidermize my torso and hang it on his office wall, that's how good they look.

They are also perfectly in proportion to my body. A teeny-tiny smidgen 'smaller' than my prior ones. However, since the previous mamas had so much loose skin, these are in actuality not smaller, according to Dr. R.

Aside from the works of art now inhabiting my chest wall—compare that with the alien tennis balls taking up space there a mere 6 months ago—all in all the healing process is accelerating.

My body is finally starting to bounce back. The five days a week of cardio, two days of strength training and two days of yoga and Pilates, pushing that along. And the weather has been a gift from above—high 70s during the day, 60s at night and breezy.

Had a lovely time at the Vogue party Thursday night with Lisa, on the roof of the Gansevoort Hotel.

I debuted the bandage-free boobs—I was freezing my ass off in a sleeveless dress. (Lisa was of course perfectly attired in a slim sweater dress and vintage Chanel chain belt.) Pre-drop off Lisa was amazed at how much the girls had softened since I last saw her at her Halloween party.

So yesterday saw me Dryel-ing 20 sweaters and bringing the winter clothes out. As usual I forgot what goodies were buried under the detritus. The jeans are almost fitting well again, so I'm prepared for "Fall." Friday night Laura and I went to a rather Palm-Beach-esque cocktail party for the launch of the Bertram 540 yacht at a home called Casablanca on 44th Street and North Bay Road on the Beach.

Thank god I'd picked up this weird little sweater/shawl thing in Amalfi a couple years ago.

(Gossip Girl fans like me—and, ahem, JKD—may notice my headband. They are the ones Blair Waldorf sports, by a designer named Jennifer Ouellette, whose stuff is at Barneys and such but you can order online.)

(North Bay Road, the most desirable parts of it, is a street on Miami Beach a la Gin Lane, 5th Ave or South Ocean Blvd in Palm Beach.) Ten-thousand+ square foot, Mediterrannean McManse, never lived in, listed at $17+million. Fantastically overpriced. About a 100 feet waterfront, but about 20 feet between the neighboring lot/home. Typical—and terrible—characteristic about posh Miami Beach real estate. Of course we snagged ourselves a private tour of the house via one of the owners' staff.

And we had some fun. The closets, kitchen and bathrooms were most impressive.

I will be in Chicago though in two weeks, so shearlings and furs and boots, oh my (yes!). And Jacksonville—leaving Tuesday—is also cool enough to bundle up. I'm actually super-psyched about Jacksonville as Lay Ann is in town, Saveira's (brother's awesome GF) is coming and we have all kinds of fun girls' stuff plan. Including, naturally, a baking party. And a girls slumber party at Al's new beach pad.

Saveira is the furthest on left followed by Dawn, Deb, Jamie, me, Danielle and Shari in NYC.

I can't wait to show Saveira the town. Except it's better now. Would you believe that Jacksonville has a Louis????? And soon we are getting an Off 5th outlet and a Gucci outlet. Oh, the wardrobe expansion to come!

I also finally installed Skype so I can teach Kobi bad words from here to Chicago.

Now, back to the gym.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Of Mouse and Men

The last time I saw Dr. Melnick, the psychiatrist, I asked him to up my dosage of Pristiq. The only additional side-effect may be "delayed orgasm," he said.

"That's not an issue," I said offhandedly.

"Wait, why isn't that an issue?" my 34-year-old friend-like psychopharm asked. One of the many reasons I love him is that he's truly my peer and on top of that, your average, hetero male, with insight into the rest of the male species.

"Uh, there's nobody there."

"So? You need to start double clicking your mouse then."

My psychiatrist offering up a sexual scrip in the vernacular of Juno. Only me.

"Meh," I stated eloquently.

But my romantic tentacles are slithering around again, grasping for that which is just out of reach. And I am beginning to have those girly feelings again. That anticipatory, predatory mindset that is propelling me back to a baseline, singleton equilabrium. Translation: I'm beginning to feel womanly again and therefore in need of some manliness. Not just sex or a one-off, but something a little meatier. Finally the clothes are fitting almost normally again and despite my myriad self-induced physical insecurities, I find myself interested again. For worse and worse. Then as soon as I reach that point of relative normality in the sex and romance departments, I remember what lies beneath. At the moment—three layers of nursing pads; a Target sports bra stuffed with compression garments; a hefty, horizontal scar above my pubic bone. And just as I start to feel good again, flirted with, checked out, complimented, I remember. That not only do I have all the same bullshit baggage that everyone else has, but an additional set of Goyard that's been beat up on the conveyor belt from Miami to New York.

As if I'm not intimidating enough. So it's me, plus the added scare of what is actually underneath my not-so-chic undergarments. At first I think, 'no, they're cool with it,' 'they've seen this happening to me and they're still here,' and then reason brings me back. And I start with all the typical female insecurities except they're not typical anymore because I'm damaged goods and way beyond 'typical'. And then I just get depressed again, want to curl up into a fetal position and not eat again till I'm wasting away in my skinny jeans.

So I'm going to curl up in the fetal position and watch Wife Swap (and probably feel a little better as a result of watching people even more fucked-up than me).

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The Cancer was already there this time of year in 2007. So though it's been less than a year since the diagnosis, my breasts became a source of stress and more than mere appendages more than a year ago.

I'm going to Chicago to see the Thundercunt on the anniversary of my diagnosis Dec. 4th. Ben, Laura, Jeff and I were chilling in their yard last night and I mentioned the Cancerversary.

"What a fun year it's been, huh?"

My first thought (and my response) was: "Yeah, it has been fun, hasn't it?"

Uh, what the fuck? I don't think that's normal. But when he said that, I didn't flash back over the hospital and Cancer stuff, instead I immediately envisioned all the fun I'd had with my friends despite and during the Cancer ordeal. So, yeah, there was a black cloud of big-time suckage looming over the last year, but there were also a hella lot of good times. Which goes to show you the quality and caliber of the people in my life. And me, of course.

Jeff, naturally, gave me the "you're nuts" look, and only then did the Cancer thing show it's face.

"Oh, yeah, there was the whole Cancer thing. But at least I got these boobs out of it. Never mind that they're covered in nursing pads."

"So you're still bandaged? They're not that big?" Ben says.

They look huge, okay? They're padded by three nursing pads—which are kind of like maxi pads for women's milky breasts I suppose. I'm basically wearing a padded bra. So they're looking really fucking big, especially when I'm not wearing black or a dark solid. I'm going to see Dr. Rosenbaum Thursday, so fingers crossed he'll let me go sans nursing pads from there on.

Oh, where the hell was I going with this? I don't know. But my nights are getting back to normal finally. To the point where I know that when I'm around friends now, I'm back to having times too fun to blog about. Stories made and told that are exclusively manu-worthy. In a good way.

I'm going to transcribe my Heeb story from the video Durrett shot, which I can't say I'm too eager to watch, and then publish the text here soon.

Lots to catch up on, but it's such a beautiful day it'll have to wait. Photos from Heeb Storytelling, Jacksonville, the Obama rally and random November pics.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Laura's Brant

I may have posted something about this before, but I can't recall and I'm too lazy and frazzled to do a blog search. So bear with me.

I've met some really amazing people through this blog and Facebook. One of those bitches is author Laura Zigman, a fellow BC chick. Laura wrote the book Animal Husbandry—as well as scads of others you can buy from her blog—which was turned into the movie Someone Like You with Ashley Judd and Greg Kinnear. Before I knew Laura, whenever that movie came on TV I'd watch it even though I'd seen it a million times before, like Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, etc. Classic chick flick.

Anyway, Laura's moved over to Blogspot and her blog is simply hilarious. If you guys like my sense of humor, you'll probably read one of her posts and leave me for her. (I know, it's not me, it's you.) She cleverly coined the term brant:

brant (brant) v.i. - to simultaneously brag and rant.

brant (brant) n. - a shared on-line journal where people can post brags and rants about themselves and their personal experiences, opinions, observations, and feelings.

branted, brant-ing, brants intr.v. To write entries in, add material to, or maintain a (we)brant.

And I didn't even know this until I Googled her a couple weeks ago, but Laura is actually credited with creating the Chick Lit genre with Animal Husbandry. Credited by the Washington Post nonetheless. Helloooooo. For those of you who've been living in a cave without bookstores, Chick Lit has become a staple of the publishing world, encompassing books like Devil Wears Prada, Nanny Diaries, Bridget Jones Diary and pretty much all those girly-looking books you see in B&N.

I'm reading Animal Husbandry right now and it's delish. One of those page-turners that will make you laugh (and perhaps cry, but I haven't gotten to that point yet) and want to go to the beach/gym/toilet or wherever you do most of your reading.

But unlike most of today's Chick Lit, which has become a dubious label in the publishing world, Laura's book is scathingly funny, sharp, intelligent, unusal, interesting and the storyline is multifaceted. So check out her blog and the Wash Post story. And buy her books if you're looking for some good times.

I’m always thrown when people as what my 'prognosis' is. ‘Prognosis’ is a wholly alien word to me after a year of Cancer. Maybe I heard that word once or twice from someone in the medical field, but certainly not often. If that creepy word was thrown around the chemo ward, the OR, the surgeons’ offices or by my friends and family, surely I would not have such a visceral reaction to it. Despite chemo brain, I can still remember the oft-bandied words: cytoxin, taxol, herceptin, filling, expanders, tissue, lymphedema, hair loss, dry mouth, early menopause, ovaries, children, nipples, Botox, washers, recovery time, sponge bath, non-stick dressing, compression garments, the list goes on. But does not include ‘prognosis.’ I think perhaps I did hear that word from the first oncologist—a doom and gloom type—whom I later fired for Dr. Schwartz. That bitch’s first phrase to me was: “This is not a death sentence.”

No shit, bitch. She was a real schmuck though—grave, harried, and seemingly a little unstable. Definitely not someone I’d want to have dinner with. Anyway, what’s my prognosis? Well, what’s yours? Do you anticipate getting hit by a car or falling off your moped tomorrow? That’s about as much consideration as I give death.

Maybe some cancer patients ask what their prognosis is. And I can totally get that. Maybe it’s the anal, control-freak journo in me that asks specific questions and wants numbers. Just give me the stats. Give me the stats that you’ve worked up specially for me; entered my numbers into a program to yield my own odds.

Sure, I was waiting with a fair amount of anxiety when Dr. Schwartz was working up said numbers. And I was quite obviously relieved when he came back with a not-so-scary number of eight percent chance of recurrence. I leveled the playing field with the prophylactic mastectomy and chemo. (Remember that my cancer was officially gone after that initial lumpectomy. I elected to have the bilat mastectomy and chemo because of my positive BRCA1 status.) Granted I had to do a lot to put me in equal standing with the general population—one in eight women get BC, bitches, so get yourself checked. And that took some getting used to, as I was previously accustomed to being one step ahead of everything in life. I could’ve become just a number. I could’ve gone through this whole thing with only my closest family members and friends the wiser. But why? I mean, I really don’t understand the stigma that so many people attach to Cancer. This is not the 1950s people. Cancer is not a death sentence for fuck’s sake. For a lot of us, it’s a sentence to live. A mandate to live, really live. Balls-out, guns-blazing living. Like taking that trip that you’ve always wanted to, partying like a rock star, living out loud. Because you know that if you do actually die from this thing, then you may as well have lived before.

You want my theory on why death rates for cancer are so high? It’s simple and I don’t think I’m way off base here. Poor people. Poor people—homeless people, welfare people, senior citizens, those with pre-existing conds who simply cannot get coverage—cannot afford the life-saving health care that I and other fortunate people are blessed with. Poor people get cancer. Lots of these people die from lack of good health care. Period. Why are the death rates so high? Because our health care system is a mess, people. A not-even-hot mess. If you’re diagnosed with Cancer, and you have good insurance, be grafeful.

L.A. therapist asked me yesterday if I was grateful.
Now that’s a word I can get down with; a word I utter almost every day. But my first thought was:

“What like grateful to God or whatever that I’m alive? Not really. I’m not grateful to God or whatever is out there.”

“Well, are you grateful to anyone?”

“Yes, I am grateful that I am who I am. That I was able to get the best doctors. That I couldn’t have a better network of support. I’m grateful to modern and Eastern medicine. I’m grateful that my family is in a position to provide me with the best of the best in care. I’m grateful that I’m strong enough to not only weather this fucking thing, but to be strong for my friends and family. And to be funny. And myself.”

“That’s what I was looking for. That you finally give yourself credit for being a strong woman who cannot only handle cancer but who can come out of it with grace and humor and beauty. . . .” and blah blah psychobabble blah.

“Well, all it took was Cancer and 12 years of therapy.” (Yes, 12. I am gunning for Woody’s position as the most therapized neurotic Jew ever.

Know what else I’m grateful for? My perfect, fantastic tatas courtesy of Dr. Gary Rosenbaum. And the fact that I have no visible scars and am sitting here in my bikini at the pool typing this, scar free to the naked eyes around me. Except, oops, I just looked down and my paper-tape covering the area where my nipples were made from is poking out. But I can just rip that shit off whenever I want.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My head is looking like a Chia Pet.

My eyes are constantly puffy and my surgeon is out of Botox, which can lift the brows.

Three nursing pads on each tit seems to stop the nasty leakage.

I'm wondering whether I should say anything about the cancer before I launch into a completely unrelated story at the Heeb event.

Today, after I brought Wally to my pool for the first time, he proceeded somehow to end up in the pool doing the doggy paddle with the most adorable, heart-breakingly helpless expression on his face. I didn't even see him go in, and when Laura exclaimed, I thought my flip-flop had blown away or something. The last thing I expected was 13-year-old Wally, who's only been in a pool once, to have done that. I actually think he was disoriented and stumbled in there accidentally or something. Poor baby. It was very bizarre. And pretty fucking funny.

I made my first radio appearance today, on a show that will be airing in a few months. Talking a little about men and dating relating to the breast cancer thing.

But I am *so* going to the Vogue party next week. Oh, and I'm live blogging from the Victoria's Secret fashion show taping here Saturday and airing next week on TV. We'll be in a separate media room, watching the taping as opposed to sitting in the audience though.

I should be excited about all this stuff, right? So then why am I completely blase and utterly bored with my life? I think I'm going through cancer withdrawl, which all my fellow cancer people said would happen. Life's so fucked-up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Come out Friday Nov. 14 to see me perform/speak in all my agitated glory. I'm going to *try* to take the stage sans Xanax. Keep your fingers crossed. (It's at the Miami International Book Fair.) I read the lineup of authors and agents at the book fair. Big mistake. There are lots of big-name people who attend this thing. I just assumed it was a C-list affair, since this is Miami after all. But there are lots of A-listers. Now I'm all intimidated and shit. Kind of. Okay, not really. Since I'm not a published author, I do think it's cool that I'll be among such very accomplished ones.

In other news, my nipples are going in two different directions. So that's nice.

This is how the Hallowen costume went off, five days post nip surgery.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The fabu coasters that Ben designed for me to bring to the Heeb Storytelling event. It's actually an image of a reconstructed boob.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Woo-Hoo Jews!

A Heeb chief of staff and a black POTUS! Ahh, it's finally good to be an American again—except in California and Florida with the fucking homophobic BULLSHIT. Seriously, California, WTF? If I ever have a happily ever after with a man—whom Lisa's psychic said I already know, natch—I'm not gettin' hitched until my gays can. Fucking homophobia. Stupid, obtuse, small-minded ridiculousness.

But I think it's huge that Barack said this:
"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states."

What a fabulous example of, well, humanity. And I have to say that I'm not hating on Oprah so much after seeing her mixing it up with the hoi polloi in Grant Park. I may actually be warming to her. Nonetheless, should I be published, she certainly wouldn't have me on her book club after my rant about her is published in Heeb magazine. Whoops.

How the hell did I digress? I logged in only to post these pics, since a lot of you fellow Cancer Warrior gals have been emailing me with hair-growth questions. (And all you readers with cancer concerns, I'm always, always happy to give advice on any and all things BC-related.)

So, this is my hair as it stood exactly four months and one week post-chemo (two weeks ago today).

Even my little nugget nephew noticed that my hair was looking better.

"Kobi, remember how I was bald?"

"Do you like this hair better?"


For some reason I always think that kids—and dogs—won't recognize me with all the hair-changing I've got going on. But I suppose they do.

And there's niece Cunty in Crazy Ass Nicole's arms. Stupid Chicago. Now I can't see Cunty, Kobi, Kutzy and Cubby every day. Stupid Windy City. And now Chicago's even cooler thanks to Barack. I'm never getting these little fuckers back to Florida. God, cuntrag, why can't you just be a snowbird with Burt and Myrn? I'm sure Jim wouldn't miss your crusty ass. Daryl isn't even filling your ugly-ass shoes thanks to stupid med school.

And yes, I know the tatas look rather high and huge here, but it's the way I was posing. . .

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I know I said, and thought, that I wouldn't look at them, but I did. After taking the bandages off during my first shower in nine days and seeing that the penis nipples no longer had such huge erections, I figured what the hell. So I looked in the mirror. And let me tell you, my boobs look fanfuckingtastic. Maybe I was a little more freaked out yesterday than I should've been—who me, dramatic?—or maybe the penis nipples were just really turned on. But seriously, seriously my surgeon (Dr. Gary Rosenbaum, FYI) is a genius.

In a few months—perhaps even by February, a year post-mastectomy—if you didn't know my history, I think you'd have to get about six inches from my chest even to notice that something is a little amiss. And the area where the skin graft came from down there, barely anything. When you look at photos of most women's mastectomies out there, they're pretty fucking scary. As I've said before, I have no horizontal scars and the vertical ones will be compeletely faded shortly. Which leaves us with, well, two manmade, perfectly symmetrical, finely crafted breasts. The left breast, the toxic one that had a lumpectomy in addition to mastectomy, is now corrected even more, so that both breasts are basically the same. The aureolas are still stitched and pink—from irritation I suppose—but they're otherwise perfect. The perfect size. And the penis nipples are weird, no doubt, but within a few weeks I think they'll be pretty normal. So instead of thinking of myself as a cyborg, perhaps more something along the lines of Dr. Rosenbaum's David.

With a smaller penis(es).

Well, I'm out like—in the youthful vernacular Laura taught Jeff and me last night—an erection in sweatpants?.

It's nice to see that there are people out there depraved enough to delight in a cancer survivor's tribulations, isn't it? Check out this douchebag's comment on yesterday's post. Seems like a really fulfilled, secure and joyous person, no? Must suck to be you, dude.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dick Nips

If I weren't going to B & L's election party tonight, and consequently concerned with keeping my eye-puffiness to a minimum, I would be curled up in bed crying. Because: I am fucking sick of this shit, people. I am sick of my boobs. I'm sick of writing about them, talking about them, photographing them, obsessing over them, taking pills to mask their pain, making wardrobe sacrifices to accommodate them, blah blah fucking blah. Seriously. I'm over it. Remember when I proclaimed that I just couldn't fathom women who didn't elect for reconstruction? Well, now I can. Now I envy those women.

You know when you're on a long drive on a nondescript highway and you're in that final hour; those last 60 miles? That home stretch is always the longest part, right? Never mind those 350 miles that you've already logged. That last hour is interminable. Well, I'm in those last 60 miles and they seem interminable alright.

Men, especially those related to me and/or those who actually still see me as a normal, sexual being, you may want to stop reading here. . . .

But I know this is like a car wreck and you're still reading because you must read anything about nipples. . . .You were warned.

I wait nearly two hours on the doctor. Would you believe they were OUT of Botox? Listen, I may not be able to control the water weight, the hair growth, the fucking residual chemo puffiness causing my eyes to resemble Renee Zelweger's, not to mention the girls—but damn straight I'm going to control what I can. Anyway, I was hoping for a mock brow lift to negate the puffy eyes, but no Botox.

When he finally sees me, as he's un-mummifying my torso:

"Now, don't freak out when you see them, they're going to get shorter."

"Huh? Oh, I'm not looking at them. I never look until the stuff is a little healed."

"Well, you have to look at them. You have to change the dressings every day, and you're going to have to look at them. So I'm telling you now that they're longer and they'll shrink."

"Oh, God." I start moaning. I cannot stand to touch, see or even envision my scars. After the mast, I would scream when I caught an accidental glimpse in the mirror.

So he unwraps me. I look down. And scream a little.

"Omigod. Omigod. Eww." Short breaths. What the fuck did I just see on my chest? "They look like penises." Literally. The nipples look like little, newborn penises. They are foul. Period. Just plain foul. Like little penis-shaped, tee-pees of flesh-colored clay.

"That's what about 40 percent of my patients say. I always look forward to hearing what the reaction is."

"They look like penises." I repeat, quite obviously in shock, looking down at yet another foreign object that is now a part of my makeup.

I'm still in shock over the penis nipples as the doctor moves on, showing me how to dress my penis nipples every day for three more weeks. This, remember, is in addition to the fact that I must wear a bra stuffed with camping foam.

For someone who wants to vomit each time she sees her penis nipples, the wound dressings could not be more ill-suited to her disposition. First comes some kind of nonstick tape, out of which I must cut a triangle for the penis nipples to poke through. Then about five sheets of gauze—or nursing pads for ease—with another penis-nipple hole. Then about five more sheets of gauze—no penis-nipple hole. Then paper tape. Then hideous granny bra. Then camping foam. I'm going to take a photo of the whole getup tonight so that I can remember the proper way to dress these fuckers every fucking day for the next three fucking weeks. FUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKK me.

"But my friend in Boston had plastic nipple covers," I say meekly, knowing that there is no escaping this dreaded daily dressing.

"Well, I don't know what they would use, but blah blah," he says. I'm not really listening anymore. I'm mentally going through Wardrobe, thinking about how I've never recycled this many clothes, ever. Ah, the good old days. When I could go nearly a year without outfit repetition. When all I needed to think about was which jeans, which shoes, which bag. Now my jeans have dust—and probably nipple juice and moths, for that matter—on them. Okay, I won't get started on Wardrobe; that will really prompt the waterworks.

Now I really am a cyborg. A man-made, she-cyborg with penises on her fake boobs. I mean, come on, can this whole thing get any weirder? No, right? It's science fiction.

"I can shower today?" I ask, still hopeful.

"Probably not until tomorrow." Lovely. Another party to go to relatively unwashed. Thank god I have an actual bath with a handheld shower head.

He did tell me one good thing though: He took some belly fat along with the skin. So the chemo baby is definitely smaller.

But I still have penises on my tits. Penises. On my tits. Any of my friends who want to see, feel free; I know some of my friends have a morbid curiosity about what's going on under the bandages.

And now Joe The Fucking Plumber is on CNN. We are truly living in a world gone completely mad. Penis Nipples. Joe the Plumber. Nursing pads and bras from Target. Is it 4:20 yet? And now Wally just shit-ploded all over my bathroom again.

Obama as president better be the light at the end of this day or I don't know what.

Suck It, Cryptkeeper!

Please god, let the Cryptkeeper's coffin be nailed shut tonight. Or I am moving, swear it. To the Four Seasons, Costa Rica. Mark my words.

Guess what I woke up to again? Bloody shit—

Wait—the Naked Cowboy is a Republican and just endorsed McCain to Richard Roth on CNN? I'm sure the Cryptkeeper loves that.

Anyway, I think Wally may actually be sick and not just stomach-irritated. Fuck me. Isn't one sickie per apartment enough?

The bandages come off today! Woot woot. Now it's time for the granny Target bra with camping foam. And accdg to Mel, camping foam is actually a legit technique that she had to employ after a recent shoulder surgery!

Anyway, happy voting and the next time you hear from me, I'll be wearing a bra for the first time since February. A dubious distinction, as my first post-op bra is Target instead of Cosabella or Hanro. (La Perla—a total waste of money unless people aside from doctors and family members are seeing your girls.)

Debates, bitches! I'm not going to tell you to vote; I'm confident you guys have that under control. And here's hoping tonight is a historic night.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Camping foam, which I had FedEx-ed from REI. Two chunks of this will be residing in both sides of my bra for the next few weeks. The insanity never ends.

Purple Haze All In My Veins

Fucking A., it's going to be one of those days. Post-Cancer Stephanie pulled a Pre-Cancer Stephanie move Sunday morning. After managing to put together my 'sexy'—I'm still not convinced—nurse costume and baking a potent batch of brownies to bring to Lisa's party, the weekend gets a little (purple) hazy.

J. and C. and Wonder Woman (or, shit, was she Superwoman?) picked me up for the long ride to Ft. Lauderdale and, okay, maybe, I ate a brownie before they picked me up. The chef must taste. Well, there were already "Spooky Brownies" on the hors d'oeuvres table. Goody! I may have eaten another one. The nurse costume went off well, the party was fun and an hour was added to our night/morning. They dropped me off around 3 a.m.—no idea old time or new.

I don't exactly remember what happened next, people. Though quite obviously, for reasons to be illuminated in the next grafs, I ate some more brownies. I wasn't drinking and was pretty Percocet-free. Gateway drug my ass. . .

Anywho, I went to bed at some point Sat. night/Sunday morning. 4:20 perhaps? Let's go with that. I awoke this morning. From Saturday night. I skipped over an entire day. That's one way to make the week go faster, right? I stumbled into the bathroom this a.m., a little confused at the daylight peeking in and by the fact that my bandages seemed more askew than after the previous nights' sleep. My watch was still an hour later, as was my 'alarm clock.' I checked the date on my cell phone and sure enough, Sunday had come and gone in my sleep. I went into the kitchen to scope things out. The brownie pan was completely empty. Pre-party, I had left eight brownies in my pan. It was a strong batch too. Well, that explained a lot.

So I found myself awake at 7 a.m. this morning trying to piece the previous 36 hours together. It's no great mystery now that about 10 party brownies + Percocet + Seroquel = 36 hours of sleep. On the plus side, I didn't eat anything yesterday—too bad it wasn't Yom Kippur and I could be a good Jew for once—and have now completely weaned myself off Percocet. (L. send me your addy and the rest are yours!)

Wally made it his mission to shit in every possible crevice of my apartment as soon as mom left. So this gauzed-up bitch, who is supposed to be 'resting,' was on her hands and knees for hours bleaching out dog shit and vomit. But during The Great Sleep, Wally's shitting/vomit issue resolved itself; all the droppings I found this a.m. were hard and crusty thank you very much. Another plus is that I get to watch all the goodies from last night today, so don't tell me what happened on Entourage.

But I'm still on driving restriction which makes life a little more difficult and led me to take a cab today to the hospital where I'm now gettin' my drip.

The cab I hopped into, after waiting 10 minutes for it to come, was filled with smoke and the driver appeared to be the culprit.

"Uh, I have cancer can you put that out?"

He held up his hands to show that he was done, leaving me only to enjoy the stale remnants of secondhand smoke in the back. I'm sure he felt great when I told him I was going to the cancer ward.

On another, more serious note, I have less than two weeks to decide what I'm going to talk about at this Heeb event Nov. 14. I mean, I know I've got funny stories, but I have to choose one that's vaguely Jewish. And I'm trying to get the first hundy pages of manuscript in order for that weekend so I'm ready in case there are any actual publishers and/or agents in town for the 'Miami Book Fair.' (It's the Miami International Book Fair, which I think is big in the Latino world but in the NYcentric definition of the media, not so much. It may even be a translation conference for all the fuck I know.)

By the way, I do believe I am still high.

This is the storytelling event. Please do come.