Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Boob Stuff

Dr. Masri had been on call when Rosenbaum was gone for that Jewish holiday a month ago when I had inflamed boobies from the nip snip. So I saw him today for a little facial toxification. He does reconstructions as well and operates in tandem with Rosenbaum.

I wanted his opinion on Dr. Rosenbaum's work.

"Do you care if I flash you?"

"Of course not." (Has a man ever said no to that question in any situation?)

I open my shirt. "So what do you think? Good?"

"Yeah, they look amazing. You could never tell."


"I mean, of course there is some scarring, but no I don't think anyone would even know."

So maybe I'm really not walking around with a sign on my chest that reads: "YES MY TITS ARE FAKE BUT I'M NOT A BIMBO I SWEAR?"

I did go to that yoga class last night. The teacher had implants and no bra, which I could clearly see when she leaned over. And I have to say, mine are better.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I've been experimenting with my anxiety lately. In a non-pharmaceutical way.

Before Dr. Laura left for Europe—thankfully she's back and I have session on Wednesday, which will have to be conducted via Bluetooth as I will be making the perilous trek to Jax—she and Melnick had a chat and came to the same conclusions about me and my mishegas.

They concurred on one pivotal issue of mine: fear of success. This was a complete shock to me. Fear of success? In my mind it's always been a fear of failure. Natch, this revelation had me navel-gazing even more. Financial success? The respect of my peers? Fame? Power? WTF. Anyway, so the two shrinks agree. Stephanie has a paralyzing fear of success and that's what's holding her back from getting her second book out there.

Uh, does this make sense to anyone? If it were up to me, I'd say I'd always had more of a fear of rejection after the debacle that was Dishalicious, the book. Then again, after the Big C, I've had the attitude of "If you don't want me, go fuck yourselves." But it's easy to say that to regular people, to 'say' that or have that attitude professionally—to agents, publishers etc—not so much.

Soo after this bicoastal meeting of the minds ocurred, I had a lot to think about. I went into Chad that week. The pain in the scapula was back. That's where the stress goes now; right back to where the pain was post-mastectomy. Our minds and bodies are certainly in constant communication. I can fucking prove that shit after the past year.

So, Chad (acupuncturist for those of you not intimately acquainted with my 'team):

"So what's up,what's going on?"

"My scapula is killing me. What the fuck? Why is the stress still going there? Oh, and I'm peeing a lot. Plus I have this throat/cough/flegm thing that I'm hoping is just my period."

He does his feeling thing, seeing what energy-related vibes he can pick up.

"Well, that meridian is definitely blocked."

"But why there? Like what is that connected to?"

I'm paraphrasing, because I don't know all about "The Four Elements" and what each one means. I just listen to Chad.

Well, he says, the scapula is connected to the bladder meridian so the peeing a lot thing is definitely related to that. And this meridian relates to the fire element.

"And what's that one about."

"Like, your fire in life, your passion. Your body is telling you that you're not doing what your supposed to be doing. Or a path your supposed to be following." he says.

"Like my career? The work on my book that I'm not doing?"

"Could be that, could definitely be that."

"Dude, that's fucking weird," and I tell him that only that week did my therapists reach the same sort of conclusion. That I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing with the book because of my fear of success and I psych myself out and self-sabotage and make a vicious circle blah blah blah.

So I take all this to heart. That my anxiety is caused by the fact that I'm not doing what I need to be doing and therefore I reason that I can alleviate the scapula-centered stress by writing. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. And copied and pasted video dialogue and blogs and hunkered down—at least my version of hunkering down. In about two weeks the manuscript has gone from 240-ish pages to 290-ish. I've been cranking the shit out.

As in—leave it to me to be so literal in my interpretation of all this—when I feel the pain start, I sit down and work on the book. Really, every time. But the fucking ball of stress is still in my scapula and not only that, the throat thing is still there and now I'm so anxious I'm having night sweats. So, working on book—check. Acknowledging my 'fear of success'—check. Taking care of business—check. Alleviation of stress? No. My fucking scapula is KILLING me. Writing does nothing. Even Xannies and Klons are doing nothing. Now, I'm trying everything. I'm about to go to Equinox for the second time today for a yoga class.

And then another, even more interesting interpretation went off lightbulb-style in my head today as I was driving to the gym attempting to get rid of my stress.

What if—in addition to my career—the 'passion' in my fire element that Chad spoke of isn't all career-related. What if it's actually romantic passion he's talking about? (Both shrinks concur that I must 'get out there' re men again and stop "defining your identity with cancer.") Dr. Laura—I'm not kidding—encourages masturbation. While Melnick prefers to tell me, in nearly every session that "you need to get laid. Seriously, you need your pipes cleaned."

I've been brushing off that advice for more than a year now. "Getting out there"—how much do we hate that term—was the last on my list. I've de-feminized myself to the point of no return almost. If guys flirt with me, I don't even pick up on it. It's visceral. Like, the thought that a guy would even be interested in me doesn't even cross my mind. I don't notice hot guys. Nothing. I shut that part of my life down. Completely. Not purposefully, but having your tits chopped off is going to fuck with you in some way, clearly.

Saturday night while we were out for Laura's bach party, I was sitting at a club with the girls at the end of the night. This dude was dancing in front of me—we went to see the Spam All Stars who are def worth checking out—and turned around and asked me to dance. My first thought was: "me? Why?" I know, it's sick. I said something about my feet hurting but he kept asking and I kept saying no. I'm not a big dancer anyway and certainly not with strange men.

Lindsay was sitting next to me and said, "The next time a guy asks you to dance, you're dancing."

I'm not big on metaphors, but I think that's a pretty good one. And now I have that "I hope you dance" song in my head. Alright, no time to edit or spell check—I'm running to yoga.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Whole Foods Fun

Whole Foods South Beach, 20 minutes ago:

I'm actually hoarse from Laura's wild-n-out bachelorette party last night, so I know I couldn't have been talking that loud. (The Whole Foods in SoBe is about 1/2 as big as most Whole Foods and packed on Sundays. It's a very social store where you always see a friend or two, especially on Sundays.)

I walked in on the phone with Dana, whom I hadn't talked to in several days. I was in the frozen section picking out (pathetic) dinner. And I was on the phone. Then I moved to the other side of the aisle and this older woman turned around and in Engrish—butchered English—she said:

"Scuze me cell phone."

"Yes, this is a cell phone. Your point?"

"Please, you go away not talk on cell phone behind me."

Dana's hearing the whole convo and one of the stocking guys is watching this go down with amusement.

"Excuse me? Why should I not talk on the cell phone near you?"

"You move. No talk on cell phone near me."

"I'm asking you why? Are you afraid of microwaves to your brain?"

I'm standing my ground, not moving. If she could actually give me a reason, in decipherable English, I might have indulged her eccentricity.

"No cell phone!" She huffs and leaves like there were snakes in the freezers.

"What the fuck was that? I asked the dreadlocked employee who was laughing by then.

"Dude, I don't know. She asked me if we had a certain fruit and when I told her I had to go to the back to get it she yelled at me. I stayed away after that."

I continue with my conversation and shopping. I swear I don't talk loud, in fact I usually talk low, and I don't ever talk on the cell phone at the gym.

WTF. As I was leaving the guy who witnessed the incident teased, "No talking on the cell phone, miss!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's so easy to repeatedly hit snooze when it's thunderous and rainy outside.

So much shit—good and bad—has gone down this month that I cannot wait until Dr. Laura returns from the South of France. I'll bet you some of her patients called her internationally though I'm not one of them. Melnick is fabu, but you only see psychiatrists once a month. And since we're friendly, our sessions usually result in 30 mins+ of us talking over each other.

I marked a major personal milestone this month and I'm in serious need of Dr. Laura's interpretation. Thirteen years of cognitive behavioral therapy and you should know what your major issues are and how to break your patterns of behavior. Like, if you're issue is that you sleep with married men cause your dad was stepping out on yo' mama, identify the issue and then break the pattern. That's not my issue—my affair with a married man was a PTSD reaction to cancer diagnosis thank you very much—but I have a few. And I fear that I backslid on one of those major issues this month.

My session with Melnick last week, I'm afraid, led me to do something a little out of what has become my character. I trust Ilan immensely and is one of my doctors whom I consider a friend. And now that he and Dr. Laura are phone BFFs, he has even more insight into my mind and therefore offers more advice that I take to heart. So I took the advice of the professionals, dove in, came out unscathed but now everything seems screwy again and I'm back in.

It's really fucking hard to write about your personal life without revealing anything. So let's switch to the fun stuff. Ben and Laura's wedding on Cape Cod—forgot which town he lives in—is in two weeks! I'm staying in Hyannis and aside from stalking the Kennedy compound, I could use some input on what to do and see when you don't have a lot of time. I cannot wait for the wedding weekend—ordered my dress from Bergdorf this weekend. Last Saturday I wore my first strapless dress EVER and loved it. So now I'm all about the strapless, just cause I can.

I haven't decided yet on shoes or jewels, but I'm thinking a Chanel look—layered pearls, gold baubles etc. That will likely change though depending on what mom lets me borrow.

Okay, so that's two weekends away. In-between that: I go from here to Jacksonville next Wednesday. Every year for as long as I've been alive my dad and his college frat buddies—TEPs, natch—have had a July 4th beach reunion somewhere in Florida. I've never missed one. Over the years the 'kids' have grown up, but we all still go and party with the 'rents July 4th. It's a lovely, fun, happy tradition and these guys have become my second family. One of their father's passed away last week and I met Dad and Uncle David at the ceremony in Ft. Lauderdale. It was so touching to see all the old TEPs supporting Jimmy. There was a whole table of 'em, some like Dad and David had flown in just for the day. The same guys crowded my hospital room when I had the mastectomy. As much as I bag on growing up in Jax, I know I wouldn't have such great lifeling, multigenerational friends if I'd been raised in a bigger city.

So this year's July 4th, my friends and I are carrying on the tradition and merging the groups. Some of the TEPs are lifelong family friends from Jacksonville. Alison's grandparents, Lee Ann's grandparents and my dad's parents were the best of friends. Alison's dad, my dad and Lee Ann's dad also grew up together and are still friends. So Al, Lee Ann and I are now the third-generation of this group of friends. And Lee Ann—of Four Seasons Costa Rica fame—is flying in from L.A. to stay. Not to mention the fact that all our guy friends will be there too. The whole multi-generational crew together for a weekend of food, liquor, beach, pool and partying—I cannot wait. The weather in Jacksonville at the beach ain't like Miami. Doesn't rain every day there.

So that's Wednesday. Sunday I leave from Jax to NYC and return to Jax Tuesday. Wednesday I drive back here and Thursday I leave for Mass. That Sunday night I'm heading into Boston to stay with dad's cousins who live at the InterContinental, which I understand is right in the heart of things. Only been to Boston once, when I was 17 years old. Monday the fabulous, funny, kindand kick-ass best-selling author Laura Zigman and I are having our first in person tete a tete. And if I can get my 260-page work in progress organized, I will hand off my pages for Ms. Zigman to critique.

Get back to Miami Monday night; leave again the next day for Jax. Brother's 30th bday July 17. The rents' have a beach house through Aug 6th in Ponte Vedra, so I'm decamping up there for the rest of July. Oceanfront condo practially to myself? Sold. Hopefully some of my friends will drive up to keep me company some weekends.

Anyway, guess it's time I get out of my pjs and head to the gym. Or rather, stay in my pjs and head to the gym. Tomorrow night we are throwing Laura a bachelorette party that commences with—picture this—an exotic dancing session. Me? We're supposed to bring a man's oversize white shirt—doesn't that require having a man to borrow from? I've already tried to wriggle out of the dancing part by designating myself official videographer, but Laura's already stated that she'll get me drunk enough to dance. At 2 in the afternoon. Hot mess weekend, woo-hoo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Got myself a new camera yesterday since mine broke during Mercury in Retrograde again. Every single camera I have breaks—I had Ben look at all three of my broken ones and he declared them unsalvageable. Same kind as before Sony Cybershot.

The obligatory sunset over Miami shot.

Looking Northwest (?) at Fisher Island and the MacArthur Causeway/395.

I just know that Wally was in a Native American tribe in his former life. Specifically, he was in one of the tribes that believes cameras are not so good. Stealing souls and shit. Seriously, every single time—and I mean every time—Wally sees a camera, he flees.

First I catch him unawares, sleeping on his blankie:

Next I try to get a shot of his face without holding it. Clearly that doesn't work.

Our photo session ends with the tail-down retreat into the bedroom and under the bed.
He's certainly no Monty!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Straight hair: Check, July 6.

Botox: Check, June 30th

Nipple Tattooing: Not so checked. Apparently, "Esther"—have I ever told you not only how Jewish Mt. Sinai is, but Orthodox as well?—told Nora that she wouldn't work on my formerly scabby nipple. So Nora rudely canceled me and didn't tell me. This was supposed to be June 29th.

I arranged my NYC, JAX and consequently, BOS trips around this date.

Solution: Call every plastic surgeon in my Humana Network tomorrow and see if they can tatt me.

The plus side is that Botox Tuesday means I can head up to Jax and (private, finally) beaches early.

Then: July 5th, Sunday night leave for NYC.

Return to Jax July 7th Tuesday night. Drive back to Miami the next day. Fly to Boston the next day, rent car drive to Cape Cod. Sunday night in Boston, back to Miami Monday night.

Tuesday or Wedsnday back to Jax for brother's 30th birthday week. I turn birthdays into week-long celebrations, especially 30th ones. Beach house at Ponte Vedra for rest of July and first week in August is where I'll be. It doesn't rain every day up there; a huge plus in and of itself.

Once I can get this tatting situ figured out, I'll be back to my level of normal, which is, of course, batshit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This Jew's Gettin' a Tattoo

I had a lovely, fun, non-Miami weekend in Miami, so that's fabu. Sat night Page Six's Paula Froelich had a book party for her new tome Mercury in Retrograde at this chic boutique that was totally off my radar even though it was wall to wall Lanvin, Balenciaga, Givenchy etc. I went with a cohort of mine who is also a NY-expat and thus we hate all the same things about Miami. Bonding over misery is always a good thing.

Then Monday rolls around. Mondays always start well for me and then devolve into chaos. Why should this Monday be any different? I headed up to Aventura to meet Joni, Havi and Tara for lunch then to the gold dealer and back to the beach. My neutral-colored nips were set to be tatted for color one week from today. You guys know that I'm sure since I'm quite nip obsessed. Ughhhhhhh. You also know that my July is insane. I planned a NYC trip, a Jax trip, Cape Cod and a whole lot of other stuff around the tatting date.

So I call Rosenbaum's office today to confirm that they would have Botox in stock so I could kill two birds. Nora, the office manager proceeds to tell me that the "permanent makeup artist" canceled my appt because I'd called them WEEKS ago and said that I had a little nip infection. I was on antis and it's all good now. They've been healed for weeks. I was fuming. So I made a Botox appointment for July 2. Only problem with that is that I'm supposed to drive up to Jax the day before for the big July 4th shebang. Then—I have Bluetooth now so I'm on the phone a lot more—I began calling other plastic surgeons and a couple derms to see what they charged for Botox. See, Rosenbaum charges $500 flat. Most people charge per area—total rip off. Stay away from those fuckers.

Botox, tattooing; both are important, okay? So I call the doctor a few floors above Rosenbaum, where the "permanent makeup artist" supposedly practices. I get her name from the receptionist—and the price of Botox—and call her directly. She's never even heard of me. She doesn't know Nora from a hole in the wall and was never scheduled to be in the office Monday. Grrrr. But I'm a problem solver and come hell or floodwater, Steph is getting her tatts before travelling.

I booked her for Friday and am seeing her in the other plastic surgeon's office. She charges $950 though and says insurance doesn't cover—whereas Rosenbaum said it did cover. Anyway, tomorrow I must check on insurance, but as of now, Friday is the date. And I guess I'll have to pony up a little more money and do the Botox at the other doctor's office so I can get on the road Thursday as planned. Plus, it's funnier and funner to get Botox while you're actually having legit medical stuff done. Makes you feel a little less guilty.

So, here's hoping insurance pays and that this new Dr. Kane doesn't charge too much for Botox. Oh, and check it—heading to NYC July 5th to the 7th to get Jap straightening that Monday. Squeezing that jaunt in between Jax and Cape Cod. Do you see a pattern? It's called the I'm-trying-to-get-back-my-looks plan and it's quite exhausting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I know my Cancerversaries seem endless, but I can't help myself from marking each occassion, so forgive. One year ago today was my eighth and last chemo treatment.

Can you even believe? Well, I can't. The progression of time is a funny thing isn't it? There's no way to say definitively whether this year flew by or dragged out. It did both.

The most visible part of this particular one year mark is, naturally, the hair. Oh the hair, the hair, the hair. I'm dying to do something about it, but haven't figured out how to get to NY and back before July, when I'm completely booked. Chances are that I'll get so fed up in the next week or so that I'll pop up to the city for a day or two, get the hair done and then jet back here. The only problem with doing that is that when I go up I feel guilty if I don't get to see all my good friends.

Anyway, whatever. Pictures are called for. Tomas and I had our photo shoot last week for my stylish South Florida magazine story TK. I did one ensemble with wig and one sans wig.

Since my camera broke, I've been slacking, but I know you're just dying to see my hair; that you can't even wait; that this is going to get you through your workday. Right? Well, this is what it's now looking like when it's straight. I don't mind it when it's straight, but remember that I live in the Tropics, so as soon as I step outside, I go from Sally Hershberger to Seth Rogen in two seconds flat.


And this morning, Seth:

And one year ago, in the hospital with my posse:Note the wine bottles above. My rationale was that I was all fucked-up on drugs so my friends may as well join.

I believe that's the only time I ever wore those Zanotti shoes. Fucking uncomfortable, but when you're in a chemo bed it doesn't matter. (Another Neiman's Last Call find I couldn't resist.)
They served their purpose that day though, as Stacey said:

"As soon as I saw those shoes poking out of that bed I knew this was your room!"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Does anyone else find it endlessly amusing when their dog farts? Wally's just sitting here on the couch, tooting away.

Where to begin? Have I mentioned how I have psychic-prescient dreams? Well I do. Or actually, prescient thoughts in general. For instance, last night—bear with me while I give you the (borderline insane) train of thought that led me to my latest encounter.

Last night I had on the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three, starring Walter Matthau. I was watching the credits and saw Hector Elizondo's name. Then I thought: "Wow, he's really had a long career and steady work as one of those actors who everyone recognizes but probably doesn't know his name." Which led me to think about how Bob Balaban is another one of those actors, and that Dr. Larry Norton resembles him, which had me conjuring up visions of Balaban playing Norton in a movie. Uh, yeah.

Tomorrow, June 16th—the one year anniv of my last chemo. Wow, that's a biggie. Thank fucking God I look better now, despite the fucking Jewfro. Anyway, cut to this a.m. I had The View on in the background while I was writing my column for Juli B. And—god forgive me—I hit the record button when they announced that Heidi and Spencer were on. But—ahhha there was a subconscious reason I recorded those douches! Next thing I know, I look up and my beloved Dr. Larry Norton is in the View hot seat.

Even though I knew he was B.I.G. I've never seen him on TV. Apparently he's a regular guest. And the coolest thing was that they were asking him about BC genetics and Republican Nazi EH asked him about inheriting the gene from the mother's side vs the father's. Well, last year when I consulted with Norton, he was the one to tell us that the gene quite clearly was on my father's side. And as he's sitting there on the View, I'm thinking: "Jesus, he's up there talking about a patient like me." I was half-ego-maniacally thinking that he was about to say: "For example, last year I had a 31-year-old patient whose BRCA1 gene was inherited from her father."

I know, sick. But, how weird that he's on today? It's like a big, cosmic, happy anniversary from the man who guided me on the path to health. Norton was the final factor in deciding to do the double mastectomy and chemo. I remember being in his office with Mom, Dad and Michael—the first visit where the whole family was there—and seeing my dad tear up a little. Mom was naturally bawling the whole time while Brother was giving me sacred gifts from India and such. And then I saw relief wash over the whole family when I agreed that I was going to go with Norton's treatment protocol and do the double mastectomy.

And, as you all know, once I talked to Norton, I never wavered in my decision. I worship this man for not only his intellect, but for his kindness, compassion, intelligence, humor, bedside manner and dedication to his job.

I was also thinking, as I watched the Anna Wintour of breast cancer—my nickname for him—that this man on that TV with Barbara Walters took almost two hours out of his day to meet with my family on a day when his elderly mom was in the hospital. He drove in from New Jersey just to meet with us that day. I'm no Barbara Walters, but this man changes lives wherever he is. Talking to the masses on The View or talking to the Greens on a cold NYC day in March 2008.

Sigh. I'm so lucky. So, so, sooo lucky and grateful for such a great network of friends and family and connectors. And Norton's the one who gave me Ralf's name and so on and so forth. The circle of life.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


After much, much deliberation, many hours on the computer and countless familial shenanigans, I decided on a car. It's a 2009 Volkswagen CC.

I saw this car on the road this past week and really dug it. Then I started seeing it everywhere. The Glassman Girls have driven VWs for a while and really like them. So I got the name of their guy; drove my ass to Coral springs yesterday in my downgraded Toyota Corolla rental car with a missing hubcap; and put a deposit down on a lease.

It's my first lease, so I'm oddly excited about that little plot twist. Even the most mundane things in retail get me off. Can you say sicko shopaholic. Anyway, I loooove the car. The outside is sporty even though it's a sedan and the inside is sah—weet.

I mean, come on. Two-tone, black-and-tan interior trimmings? How me is that? My new car will go with every ensemble!

The only issue I'm having is on the exterior color. Ostensibly, the Champagne colored one with the above interior is the one on the lot I'm supposed to get. But I reaallly love the navy color that VW makes. The problem? One-hundred-degree days + dark colors do not a happy marriage make. So the question is: Will she once again sacrifice looks for comfort?

I could use a little input. Do we likey the Champagne color? (You can see it on the Web site.) I feel like I'm not 100 percent happy with the color, and natch, if it were a Balenciaga bag, I would go straight for the color I like. But a black Balenciaga wouldn't make my ass stick to the seats and cause my makeup to sweat off.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Lest ye think I was exaggerating about my accident.

You can see the airbags deployed in the windows, at the top. And the rear passenger tire is completely crooked.

I took a trip to Delray today to collect my personal belongings from what was left of my car. The mechanic did me a favor on the DL and pried open the 6-disc CD changer open for me because it contained a book on tape from the Miami Beach Public Lirbrary. A couple of the discs are, uh, not so good.

I'm coming around to the idea of a new car, and have narrowed it down to a few brands and models. I still am not thrilled about going to dealerships; I cannot stand pushy salespeople. I wanted to kill the woman at Neiman's who helped Laura and I with her Louboutin wedding shoes. But I digress.

The passenger side door, where the truck hit me and where Wally was sitting on a pillow.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Okay, I've been on the phone all-day with like four diff people at State Farm. Everything started out cool—woohoo new car and all that—and is now unraveling, naturally.

Apparently, the guy who hit me is injured. So the truck hits me on the passenger side, and the impact of that caused me to spin 360 degrees and lose my shit. He ran over to me immediately and asked if I needed an ambulance. Or paramedics or whatever. When the medics came, they didn't examine him as far as I can tell. I was obviously in shock, so I don't know how they expect you to remember exactly what the fuck happened in those pivotal two seconds where I thought I—but more importantly, Wally—was finally going to bite the big one. Yes, I was thinking only of Wally's safety when I thought I was dying. I'm so selfless.

Anyway, what this boils down to is that now I'm freaking out and I lost it over the phone with this latest State Farm woman. She's throwing around numbers like $300,000 and terms like "liability exposure coverage," and, uh, I don't know what the fuck she is talking about. All I know is that I injured someone, which I feel horrible about. As if I needed any more Jewish guilt. I'm drowning in a sea of my own guilt. (Which I know how to analyze, thank you very much but that doesn't mean I know exactly how to tell my brain to cut myself a break for once. Except for running to the Klonopin bottle.) I mean, I had guilt already about the fact that Sergio at the BMW dealership isn't going to make a sale to me, when I'm sure our dog and pony show yesterday made him think otherwise. Now I'm going to be freaking out until I see this police report and can determine how badly I injured this guy. What if I really fucked him up? Maybe I am not actually so "lucky" regarding this latest foible.

So I've made an executive decision. I'm not getting a car. I'm getting a driver. It's cheaper than a car—really, I would need a ride off the beach maybe once a week or so. And I can take the onus off myself in this one department of my life.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me yesterday that I ended chemo around this time last year. My last treatment was June 16, 2008. For some reason the fact that it's been a year depresses me. Why did Dr. Laura have to go to the South of France in June? Probably because she has a thousand patients as fucked-up as me and needs a break. Understandable.

The Flood via Meridian

You know what makes a writer's life much easier? Video. Especially when it's narrated by two hilarious friends.

My friends' "i report" footage is incredible; shot from their home in South Beach on Meridian Ave. They're looking out at what was their pool. Here's a before photo of the lovely pool area.

You'll see the after in the footage.

The good news is that everything is fine, but a few more inches of water and their house, along with many others, would've been flooded. Bienvenido a hurricane season.

Here's the footage.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I'd planned on June being a really calm month. A month in which I would get into the routine of editing/writing the memoir uninterrupted every day. July is going to be one big blur of beachy travel, so June was where it was at.

This week in particular, I was going to clean house. Tuesday the Salvation Army was set to pick up my stuff. After hearing Chad's seminar on Eastern Medicine, the Yin and the Yang etc., I realized that my desire to get rid of all my old furniture from the grad-school-era was a subconscious homage to Feng Shui. Anyway, they give you a four-hour window. So Tuesday I'm waiting around. All day. At 4 p.m. I get a message from the driver. They saw that two movers were already here and decided that my building was too busy. You can imagine how well that went over. Fine, rescheduled till Thursday.

Cut to Thursday. I wake up, head downstairs to walk Wally in my usual loungewear/pyjamas, and this is what I encounter:
A film crew. Great. (Did I mention how my camera broke during Mercury Retrograde? These are from my Sidekick.) That show Burn Notice on USA films in Miami. Well, 'Shit,' I thought, 'how the fuck are the Salvation Army going to get through?'. They'd closed off one street and the other one was open to local traffic only. I HAD to get that stuff out of my house by then, for I'd completely rearranged all the other stuff to fit around my new layout. Translation: My apartment was in total disarray and as a result this Type-A biatch was freaking out. Oh, did I mention that once I realized they were filming in my building I changed into a cute sundress and put a lil' makeup on? ("You nevah know." in the voice of a Jewish yenta.)

I talk to the cops guarding the street and they assure me that they will let up cable guy etc. I'm being typical Steph, running around like a loon, on the phone, talking loudly etc. I know many people, probably lots of you readers, like seeing something being filmed. And I'm sure it is pretty cool if you don't see it a lot. And I think it's really cool too when they are filming something cool and not, say, Burn Notice. So, yes, I was being snobby and elitist. A-list filming, okay, use my building. (Sigh, on the Upper East Side I saw Patsy and Edina filming the last episode of Ab Fab outside my building. Here it's Burn Notice. Enough said.) On like my fourth trip outside, I walk up the steps and see this cute dude, whom I recognize but don't know by name. Now I'm not so furious about them interrupting my day.

"Lipstick Jungle, right?"

It was Brooke Shields' hubby from the show. He's a Brit and looks A LOT better in person. Very silver-fox sexy even though he's only 40 according to IMDB, which translates to 50 in Hollywood years.

"Yes, that's right I was on that."

"You were really great. Really great show."

"Ah, thanks, yes. Cheers." (Or something along those lines.)

Lipstick took a while to get its footing, but then I really got into the show. My god, the wardrobe-ing alone, to die. The storylines were good, but the actors were really great. Really great. There'd been all this debate about was it coming back or not, did they pick it up again, blah blah blah. I wasn't sure what the final outcome was though; whether NBC had given the show another chance. So why not go right to the source?

I turned around. "Is it coming back?"

"No, no it's not."

"Damn, that sucks. Really good show. Bye!"

Another eloquent American, I'm sure he thought.

Meanwhile, I'm still dealing with the fallout from the car wreck, still driving a Jewish-grandmother-worthy black Lincoln Town Car. I do five-point-turns just to back out of a damn parking space.

Now cut to Friday. I'd been waiting on a damage repair estimate from the body shop where my car is. Well, check this shit out: My car was a 'total loss.' And it held its value, meaning, I'm walking away from this accident with the car lien paid off by State Farm, and a check for $3,000+. Hello new car. Goodbye ownership. I'm leasing a car this time, like most normal people. So, score on the car front.

By that time—mid-afternoon—the skies had opened up. We are in hurricane season. One minute it's sunny, the next you'd swear the apocalypse was coming. Wally was in the bedroom cowering, all of us beach-dwellers were trapped indoors. By early evening, we were in a flood zone. It was hailing. We got 12 inches of rain in one hour. According to the news, a car was seen floating down Michigan Avenue. The crew was supposed to be filming on Friday as well. I gather they did film in the a.m., but they'd started to tent up by afternoon sprinkles. They'd shot a car crash scene the day prior and parked this sweet stunt car in front of my building.

For whatever reasons, they failed to remove the car before the floods. I'm guessing that car is considered a 'total loss' as well. You can see the 'after' photos below. This shit was pretty serious though. Four-foot-high waters over in Ben and Laura's hood. From the looks of the debris on what was formerly Wally's favorite poop spot, I'm predicting a Cholera outbreak pretty soon.

From my couch, mid-afternoon, looking at an invisible Star Island. (Star Islanders never want to be invisible FYI. Ick.)

A couple hours later outside my bldg, do you see the tail end of that 'wave' caused by cars trying to drive in this?

And USA Network's total loss car of the week in the left foreground.

Crazy. The real highlight of the week though—even better than finding out I'm getting a new car—was learning that I'm being named one of South Florida's most stylish people by one of my favorite magazines here! (I think mom is more excited about this too. And all my friends and family for that matter. Does this mean I can write off my clothing now too?) I'm shooting with Tomas on Wednesday and the issue should be out later in the summer.

Today I went car shopping with Faye at the BMW dealership nearby. That is a whole other story in and of itself, but suffice it to say I had an anxiety attack while I test-drove the new 128i or whatever it's called. Car shopping is quite overwhelming, and it's like time-pressurized because I have to say bye-bye to old car tomorrow, collect my personal belongings, downgrade the rental car and then either find a new car ASAP or pay out of pocket for rental.

Meaning I'm signing off before I have another attack.

Oy. It's going to be another crazy week.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Health Angle

If I had $1 for every bit of cancer and surgical advice I've shared this year, I'd be able to buy gold instead of selling it. (FYI, selling old, unused gold—great way to make hundreds or even thousands now given the gold market. Do NOT use that cash for gold you see advertised on TV. That's a scam.)

Anyway, I wish I'd found a site like Health Angle sooner. The founder of the site contacted me after reading my "Aureolas—Ouch" entry. Though he has personal ties to Cancer, the Web site proffers up information on all doctors and procedures via personal medical stories, input by patients such as myself and others. From a minor surgery such as my port removal to major operations like uh, quadruple bypass surgery or something like that. Reading stories posted by patients gives you a much more "real" picture of what to expect in terms of recovery, etc. All patient stories are presented anonymously, and they're edited and reviewed by a doctor prior to being published.

Perfect example: Dr. Rosenbaum didn't warn me that a minor nip-tuck on the dickle could irritate the tissue so much that I woke up with bright red boobies, convincing me that I had inflammatory breast cancer (as red boobage is a symptom.) Had I known that even in minor surgeries tissue can be displaced and therefore cause pain and irritation, I wouldn't have had to: pop [more] pills [than usual] Friday to calm down, waste Dr. Schwartz's time on the phone telling me I did not indeed have IBC, harass Chad the acupuncturist, and page the on-call surgeon on Friday and Saturday. Or go on Keflex. Had I perhaps read about red boobs on Health Angle, I could've even gone out over the weekend, as opposed to holing up in the apartment in fear of irritating the boobies.

The site is free, and though I don't peruse many (if any) health Web sites, I find this one an exception worth writing about and encourage you all to share your stories. If you don't talk about it, you can't fix it! Don't ask, don't tell is so over. So when you have five minutes, fill out their online survey on anything from a root canal to mammogram. Here's the link to the survey. It's a great resource for family members as well—reading about an upcoming procedure that your mom is having may be able to quell fears and take steps to make recovery easier.

On that note, I'm calling NYC Ralf to see if my wig can be refashioned into hair extensions. Another excuse to go to NYC. Which mother is completely cool with, but she's taking issue with me cleansing my apartment and donating my old furniture to the Salvation Army. She just doesn't get the concept of karma. A homeless dude could totally live in my Macy's armoire.