Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If I Had a Fan, It'd Be Doo-Doo Brown

I've been mired in a vortex of self-pity, depression, anxiety and just a little bit of anger. Fear that this cocktail won't work. Not totally irrational because, hellooo, I did everything and more first go-round and was "in remission" for, let's see, 18 months. (Remission begins after the most major surgery. In my case, the mastectomy was Feb. 15, 2007.)

Can you imagine if I hadn't had the mastectomy or chemo? I'd be fucking dead. Dead. Literally. How many people have to stare death in the face not one, but two times—or three times if you count my near-death accident on I-95 in May of this year.

Which brings me to Sunday. I've had a pretty unlucky October. Aside from the PET scan coming up clean—thank you thank you thank you whom/whatever is out there—it's been just shitty. I think the Walgreen's on 6th and Jefferson is like the Bermuda Triangle of karmic wrong-ness for me. This is the Walgreen's where beg-for-money-yet-luscious-weaved Scary Tranny hangs out. And where I go nearly every day for my Snapples.

Now, I'm avoiding that place like the Swine Flu. The week they found my enlarged lymph nodes, I backed into this gargantuan SUV in that parking lot. So, I'd chilled all weekend—malaise, pain, exhaustion—but still managed to get to the gym all seven days. Sunday, went to Walgreen's for pre-gym Snapple. As I'm walking out to my car—I kid you not—there's a cop car facing me and I hear from its megaphone:

"Stephanie Green, you've got a little problem." W.T.F. I was already in such a resigned, defeated, deflated state of mind that I just sighed and walked over to his car. I knew my driver's license had been suspended because I forgot to pay the ticket for the near-death collision. (Escaping death costs you about $180 in Palm Beach County. You can't really buy anything big on Worth Ave. for that amount, so it could be worse.)

The cop actually radios for backup. Let me explain to you where this Walgreen's is. The street I live on is perpendicular to 6th street, which becomes a little sketchy as you head East. Walgreen's is around the corner from where Ben and Laura live and near one of the most notorious drug-dealing and crime-infested areas on the beach. Crack deals, robberies, crazy homeless shamans with feces all over their togas and shit. The sight of blue lights is an almost every day experience; we often watch the action from B & L's window. My point is that the Pigs have a lot to worry about in this hood. But no. Instead of patrolling the nabe, this cop is PARKED IN THE WALGREEN'S LOT RANDOMLY RUNNING LICENSE PLATES. Bing! I win.

So I'm standing there with my Walgreen's shit and he's pulling up all the stuff and telling me my license is suspended in both Miami and Dade. (I didn't know about Dade.) I didn't pull the Cancer card on purpose. I mean, I'd been bawling off and on all weekend. Everywhere. In public, private, you name it. Why should the Walgreen's parking lot be any different? I started crying.

"Look," deep, sobbing gulp, "I know I should've taken care of this but I've," gulp, "been rediagnosed," gulp, sob, "with Cancer this month. And I just haven't been able to take care of this."

The cop, youngish, not bad looking but kinda red-necky, softened.

"Look, I'm not going to take you to jail." I knew that. I have good luck with cops while Brother has exceedingly bad luck. Once I lose my looks—which I'm expecting to commence in the next year—I suppose I'll have to become a law-abiding citizen.

I just had to take another half a Klonopin, as I felt the rapid pulse that precipitates a lovely anxiety attack. (I'm up to 13 pills a day including Lamictal and Pristiq, but not including however many Benzos I pop. Small dosages that get me through the days and help me sleep at night.]

So back to Walgreen's. The officer walks me over to my car, where I'm pretty much just sitting and crying, and tells me to call a place called The Ticket Clinic, where I can hire people to take care of this for me.

"Okay, but my license . . . how do I, uh, get home since, you know, it's suspended?"

"I'm going to pull out while your still parked and as far as I know you were sitting here parked when I left."

Cool. Only mildly shaken up, I proceed to the gym. I'm *so* used to things like this that they barely phase me. Moreover, I'm in severe self-destructive mode right now. I don't have much fight left in me; had I been taken to jail, I wouldn't have resisted. I didn't even call dad, attorney extraordinaire. I just don't care.

The shit just keeps hitting the fan, but I'm half-heartedly weathering it, hoping that all this bad luck will lead to something good. Pessimistic optimist? If 'sigh' were an adjective, that would aptly describe my state of mind.

I'm terrified. I'm guilty. I'm in pain—the joints and bones from Xeloda. And I'm unsure of the future, which is a very scary prop for a type-A like me. I'm fearful of making plans because as soon as I decided to leave Miami—I even gave notice I was leaving to the condo's attys—and head back up to New York, I had the recurrence.

The scariest part? Well, every day until Nov. 5th when I go for my check up. Because this time, I can physically gague whether the cocktail is working by feeling the leader of the enlarged nodes on my neck. I'm trying not to obsessively feel, but I still touch it a few times a day at least. Went to Chad (acupuncturist) yesterday for a tune up and pain relief, and he said he thought it was the same maybe even a little smaller. It's all I can do to not get out the tape measure like a complete fucking psycho to see if it's below 1.8 cm.

In short, I have to admit, I'm really, really scared. Depressed about everything, though mostly the fact that no matter what happens I cannot edit my manuscript, and just so resigned to life as a Cancer Patient.

Even more frightening is the prospect of having to remove my ovaries while I've still got Cancer. Shit, I'd take 'em out tomorrow if I could, but Doc Schwartz won't let me. I feel like gutting my own body and my brain. I feel like giving up and moving back into my parents' house indefinitely. I feel like I did at 28, when American Media sued me for writing Dishalicious and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. (Remember, before I went and got myself Cancer, I was that girl who wrote that roman a clef that was allegedly about Bonnie Fuller and working at Star magazine.) After two years of agenting and legal battles—which I won, totally screwed AMI—I actually burned the manuscript in my kitchen sink on the Upper East Side.

Hence, my hesitation about getting Cancer Is the New Black out to agents—potential, profound failure on top of Cancer. Can't do it alone this time. I decided to try to hire a trusted writer and friend to read the manu and edit it, which Dr. Laura thought was a good idea. If this writer has time to do it, then I'm golden. I just am too close to the work, and now, more than ever, do not feel like reading about the past two years.

Truth is, right now, I'd rather be someone else. And somewhere else. Which is why I'm seriously thinking of booking a plane ticket somewhere next week. I'd like L.A. but biz class tix just so pricey out there. But a face-to-face with Dr. Laura and seeing all my West Coast friends would be a nice break.

Oh, well, ta, I'm off to the gym. I'm reading one of the Gossip Girl books on the eliptical—such a great break from my own brain.