Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So this breast cancer study is in the news this week about the correlation between alcohol and hormone-receptive breast CA. I called my onco's office and they hadn't heard about it, which makes me think it's not v. impt, but I'm bringing the story by the office tomorrow to get Dr. Schwartz's opinion. It's not on the Sloan Kettering site, nor the NCI site, giving me more pause about its validity. And this example just strengthens my belief that instead of taking the "news" as gospel, we all need to dig a little deeper for the real truth. Natch, as an 'insider' myself, I've always known this to be the case, but just wanted to share. The New York Times, WSJ, CNN—none of them are independent, completely factual, unbiased or even totally accurate on a regular basis. It's all BS, so take it all in, but always do your own research and draw your own conclusions instead of completely putting your faith or health in the hands of talking heads.

That's all. I've been completely lazy and tired today and instead of exercising have been sitting around watching The Rose again. What a fantastic performance by the Divine Miss M.

Hallejewyah—they have finally finished my balcony, a mere six months late. For Miami, this is pretty much on time. Things move so slow in the South, from the drivers to the old folks to the damned construction projects.

So, on a balcony-related note, another bizzaro story courtesy of my building. Let's be honest here, I seem to choose the oddest buildings on the planet in which to reside. It must be something I do unconsciously, to keep the drama alive. Monday night when I was doing my stretches at 11 p.m. or so, I got a knock on my door. I had Bam come with me to open and it was my neighbor. She'd locked herself out of her apt and wanted to know if she could climb over my balcony to reach hers. My balcony had been locked from the outside again, so she had to go door-to-door asking others. We went to the window to watch her progress. Sure enough, like a cooler, less pasty Toby McGuire (sp), she was heaving herself up from the floor below onto my other neighbor's balcony. She landed, hurdled her way onto my balcony and we clapped. We motioned for her to remove the wood plank from by balcony so we could get out. We joined her out there, and we all realized that between my apt and hers, there was no floor dividing the balconies. We thought surely she was foiled, but with Bam's assistance, she hopped over the railing, walked over the balance-beam like ledge, climbed over and landed squarely on her patio. She totally rocked it. Now, if it were me—who can barely walk down stairs in my Chanels without tumbling—I would have fallen and broken my neck. Not to mention the fact that even when my arms were totally cut—a long fucking time ago as now I have just started using free weights again and am disgusted by my lack of tone and flab—I could never do a pull-up. Anyway, quite a cool sight.

I'm totally back in gear this week in type-A mode, kicking my own ass to get my documentary ready to go by June, which not only coincides with the end of my treatment but will leave me enough time to earn some of my own dough and bring a little to the table when my lease expires in August. I'd love to buy this pad, and the market is so in the toilet that it just may be feasible. Right now I'm trying to save what little disposable income I have to take myself on a vacay when I'm done with all this cancer bullshit. Don't know where I want to go yet; somewhere on the water, not too pricey or dangerous. Maybe Jamaica, the Ritz there always has really good deals. But I think Mel stayed there and it wasn't so hot. Then again Mel, I am probably totally wrong about that. I have sucummed to "Chemo Brain," which is like early-onset old-person forgetfulness. I'm now in competition for the 'rents, saying things three times and forgetting when I did what. Luckily I'm so anal I write everything down.

I've pretty much stopped writing aside from this here blog, for many reasons. A., it's too time consuming and requires me to sit at my K-Mart- (seriously) bought desk. B., it's just annoying and honestly I'm so over expending energy re. agents, editors and all those bullshit people. Frankly, life is too short to rely on people with no creative vision, who are boxed into the formulaic, B&N-dictated publishing world. Screw 'em. C., video is much easier, allows one to be mobile, and merely requires me to log footage in front of the TV. What do you know, my one hellish semester in broadcast journo at NYU grad under the dictatorship of Marsha Rock (makes Bonnie Fuller look nice) has actually paid off. Moreso than my magazine track, which yielded me Gary Belsky's guidance, but little else. (A word of advice, NYU grad school in journalism is a total fucking waste of money, so go for Columbia.)

Anyway, I'm mining my family connections from Hollywood to cancer orgs to documentarians. I'm tres fortunate to be blessed from birth with stellar contacts. A major advantage of being a Heeb with very outgoing and plugged in parents, family friends and other Jews. Being a Jew of a certain type of background is good. And being privileged is also good, I won't pretend it's not. I'm not ashamed of it, so save the hating comments. It's just a fact of life. Instead of having to climb the ladder, I can pick up the phone. Now, this also means that when I fail, it's even more humiliating. But I'm more confident in this project than in anything else I've done before. Maybe it's because it doesn't so much involve writing, which I am naturally insecure about. It also helps that I look decent on camera, have funny people in my life and am always swirling with drama. And the whole camera-adding-ten-pounds thing doesn't really seem to hold true. And if it does, woo-hoo I'm thinner than I look in the mirror.

On that note, I'm eating like a pig since the BC. I just found out last week that on chemo weeks, one of the drugs I'm on is a powerful steroid—the nurse said I could get good dough on the street for it—used to stimulate my appetite. The fact that I've always got THC-loaded baked goods may be a factor too. All in all though, my increased appetite hasn't led to that much visible weight gain. When I do cardio now, my heart rate is much higher than before chemo, requiring me (or leading me to surmise) that I can do 30 minutes a few times a week instead of my previous routine of five days of hour-long eliptical sessions per week. Granted, my body is softer and more cellulite-ridden, but frankly I don't much care. I mean, when you have rocks in your chest, three ports above your ribs, no nipples and are bald, it's kind of hard to be as vain as one once was.

Which transitions nicely to a story idea that my photog friend proposed. Cosmo is doing this massive photo shoot tomorrow of thousands of women in bikinis on the beach. Don't really get the point, but then again I don't read that rag so I'm prob missing something. Anyway, Tomas suggested doing an alternate shoot with photogenic BC chicks such as myself, and pitching that to them. Well, even though the lovely publicist seemed receptive, the editors don't appear to be. (Big surprise right?) So we'll do it at another time, pitch it to other rags and pubs, and if they don't bite, fuck 'em, I'll find a home for it somewhere else. Brill idea right? All credit goes to Tomas though. I was going to do the shoot Friday, but it's an all-day thing and brother comes in that day. Plus, I'm not into the sheep-herding aspect of it just to be one of 1,200 faces. Not my thing, y'all know I prefer to be a leading lady as opposed to an extra.

Anywho, I've spent the last coupla days at Sinai with Dana and Cunty, so I'm taking a day for myself, catching up on some chores, and heading to the shrink later this afternoon. My shrink is so cool that I actually look forward to the sessions. He's this genius dude who's my age with five practices under his belt. Makes me feel like a total loser in that respect, but our sessions are more gossipy than usual therapy sessions. I love therapy. I think everyone should be in therapy instead of buying those craptastic, Oprah-endorsed self-help books. What's the deal with those anyway? Can't people examine themselves instead of reading other people's 'wisdom'? At least in therapy these people are actual medical professionals instead of those Eckhart Tolle (sp)-types who, as far as I know, have no professional background.

And lemme make it clear here to anyone that rant offends, as you seem to extract granules of wisdom from my dribble, which I find very rewarding. However, I'd like to think that I don't preach so much as just keep it real and vent my personal bullshit. I do enjoy reading other people's memoirs, as I think that's how you can really glean useful knowledge. Two of the most impactful such books I've ever read are Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. If you've ever struggled with depression or the loss of a spouse (or are a writer), read those books. Prozac Nation was what led me, at age 20, to discover that I was clinically depressed as opposed to just another miserable biatch.

Okay, I'm out. Hag Sameach to all my fellow tribe members if I don't get back here before Passover. Not that I'm a devout Jew, but it's a fun holiday involving food and family and fun. Who knows about that whole wandering the desert thing? Whatever. I'm going to go stuff my face now.