Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vacation and the Plague

At the end of February, I traveled to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in my life.  I made plans to meet three other members of the Chemo League: Nurse Jo, Tashi and Nikki.  I came across Nurse Jo's blog after I told a friend of mine, Noah, about my breast cancer diagnosis.  Noah, who at the time was in nursing school, forwarded me a link to Jo's blog entry about having cancer.

(That's the weird thing about this diagnosis: You go over and over and over it in your head, trying to file down the edges and fold it until it fits your concept of yourself, but somehow, you can't bring the concept of CANCER to a place where it actually makes sense in your body. It just doesn't fit.

You have something in your body that doesn't fit. It wants to take over, and that's terrifying, and at the same time, it's boring as hell, because you can't think about anything else, and nobody wants to talk about anything else, and, and, and.)

She was the first person I had come across who talked about cancer so honestly and yet made me laugh.  I actually sent her an email saying that I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and that I related so much to what she wrote about having cancer.  Days into my diagnosis, I was so tired of talking about it, but I couldn't think of anything else and nobody wanted to talk about anything else.  Jo and I ended up being friends, having the damned canssuhhh in common.

I met Tashi and Nikki through Jezebel and Gawker, respectively.  The day after I was diagnosed, Gawker posted a story about the ineffectiveness of mammograms.  I commented that I was 30 years old and just diagnosed with breast cancer, and guess what found it - a mother-fucking mammogram.  Nikki commented on my thread, saying she had just been diagnosed too, and to stay strong.  We connected over our respective shitty situations, making me realize that misery does love company.  It makes life less lonely.

Tashi, my sweet Tashi... words cannot express how much love and support this beautiful creature has given me since I was diagnosed.  Even with a young husband dying of brain cancer, Tashi reached out to others  going through cancer and offered support, encouragement and friendship.  I'd post on Jezebel's groupthink about my treatment, and she was always there, giving me hope that everything would be okay.  When I felt abandoned by my family, Tashi stepped up and filled the hole that I needed.  I love Tashi, and I will bend over backwards if she needs anything.

Being able to meet the three people who I had come to care so much about and would cut a bitch for, it meant a lot.  They weren't just Internet friends.  Nurse Jo, Tashi and Nikki are my sisters, my support team.  They know what I've been through, and I know what they've been through.  I can be myself, and they just love me more.

I went to Seattle on a Monday with plans to take a day trip to Portland, Oregon, on that Tuesday and Wednesday.  I wanted to just travel and wander, because as you know, "Not all who wander are lost."  I didn't have any real solid plans, though I did say I would meet up with two friends while I was in Portland.  I didn't have anywhere to be, which meant I could be wherever I wanted.  The freedom!  The fun!  The unlimited possibilities!

For 24 hours, I just explored this hipster, biker-friendly, foodie inspired, and just overall nice town.  A couple of times, just random strangers made eye contact with me, smiled and said hello.  I heard honking once.  ONCE.  To drive in a city where nobody cuts you off, people let you in without acting like it was a personal affront, and people smiled... I felt like I was in another country, not just another state.  I started off my Wednesday at Voodoo Doughnuts, and about died of heaven when I had a cereal doughnut.  You heard me - a cereal doughnut.  I walked around, munching on a doughnut with Fruit Loops on it.  I might have giggled in between bites.

I took a handful of pictures as I explored Portland and afterwards, I hit up one of the food trucks for lunch before I drove back to Seattle.

When I got back to Seattle, I was starting to feel extremely fatigued, which I attributed to my flight from Pittsburgh and then driving to and from Portland the next day.  I figured the time zone difference, plus all the traveling, I just thought I was really sleep deprived.

On Friday, my friends and I went to Emerald City Comicon, and I brought way too much stuff with me.  Not only did I carry my giant purse, I was carrying my camera back pack.  A couple of hours into my first Con, I felt even more exhausted, hot, and just generally run down.  When we got back to my friend's house that night, I was shivering and it was apparent to everyone (myself included) that I was sick.

Son of a bitch.   I traveled over 2,500 miles to come down with a plague, complete with a 100+ fever and a violent cough.

I ended up giving my Con pass to one of Tashi's friends, who needed one but the Con was sold out.  I'm glad my pass did up being put to use, but I would have preferred to be the one to have used the pass.  I didn't even get to sight-see Seattle, so Pike's Place Market or the Space Needle?  Nope, didn't see any of that.  I ended up getting a lot of cuddling time with my friend's ADORABLE little kitten Magda.

It made the sting of getting sick less, but come on. I traveled all the way to the other side of the country, and I didn't get to do any of the touristy stuff.  Damn you, non existent immune system.  Damn you to hell.  The silver lining to the very dark cloud was the fact that I was able to really bond and fall even more in love with Nikki, Tashi and Nurse Jo after becoming home bound.

I guess this just means I have to come back to Seattle for a do-over.


  1. I gotta say: That Saturday in the recliner, with a KITTAYN and a cup of tea, was one of the best days I've had in a while.

  2. I love you bitches more than my luggage. And Magda says "Get your asses back here so I can suck on your ears."

  3. YUP. Just going to have to have a "re-do" on it! Twist my arm, why don't cha?