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October 24, 2003

… And Seven Years Ago

What a weird day it's shaping up to be. It was actually cool this morning when I left for work. Well, Florida's version of cool, which is approximately 65 degrees. In almost-November.

So it's cool out, and I'm tired this morning for some inexplicable reason. I woke up, showered, fed the cats (a can of IAMS wet food, which they snottily refused to eat at first - but eventually they got hungry enough and they slinked back into the kitchen to eat when I wasn't looking). All standard morning activities. Couldn't decide what to have for breakfast, so I had another Flavor Adventure - otherwise known as a Healthy Choice Grilled Chicken Marinara frozen dinner - caught up with email, read a few threads on Looking Good, and fed Otis.

My betta fish, Otis Redding, is being a pistol lately. He's halfway flaring at me all the time. Which is funny and yet upsetting. He's supposed to love me, not bite my face off.

It was right around this time - about 7 a.m. - that I remembered what today was.

So I blowdried (hmm, Word is telling me that isn't a word) my hair, and decided that I really wasn't in the mood to care how it looked, so I didn't bother with any styling products. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke. Finished that, sat down on the bed and petted Caygeon a little bit, then sat down to do my makeup. And in the interest of documenting all the minute details of this day, here is what I put on:

Olay Complete moisturizer followed by Lancome Adaptivé foundation in Beige 4 (I'm doing this from memory, and being able to recall these details is either going to be jaw-droppingly impressive or extremely unsettling) followed by Origins Quick, Hide concealer in Medium (under the eyes and at the corners of the nose) …

Wait, let me do this as a bulleted list. *fires up Homesite*

  • Olay Complete Moisturizer SPF 15 Fragrance Free
  • Lancome Adaptivé foundation in Beige 4
  • Origins Quick, Hide! concealer in Medium
  • Sonia Kashuk loose powder in Flesh
  • Nars blush in Lovejoy
  • Clinique Touch Base in Canvas
  • MAC Honestly eyeshadow on the lid
  • MAC Samoa Silk eyeshadow at the corner and in the crease
  • MAC Brulé eyeshadow on the brow bone
  • Cover Girl kohl eyeliner in Espresso
  • Curl lashes with Shu Uemura eyelash curler
  • Jane Hi-Fiber Mascara
  • Fill in eyebrows with Sonia Kashuk eyebrow palette
  • Revlon Moisturous lipstick in Tawny Dew

Good god, it really seems like a lot. I fully admit to being a product ho, but all of those steps only take me 15 minutes to do (20 if I'm being slow), so yeah, hush up.

And then I contemplated clothing. I just didn't really care about anything this morning, for some reason. I'm not a big fashion person anyway, but this morning I just felt ... not blah or depressed, just ... indifferent, I guess. I'm wearing jeans, a red/yellow/black striped shirt and black loafers. And the appropriate undergarments.

My choice of anti-perspirant today, as it is every day, was Almay Clear Gel in Unscented. And then I scented my body with MMU Shea Butter Body Soufflé in Lemon Blondie.

And then I went to work. Here's where the day gets interesting. (I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "About damn time.")

I'm walking out of my apartment when I realize that that stupid "Soundtrack of My Life" CD theme last month has really messed me up. In both good ways and bad. Because I walked out of my apartment this morning and just started thinking about all these different people in my past that I've lost touch with. They were all important people, too. But I don't know them anymore. I've been so busy in the last two years that I haven't even really thought about it, but working on that mix CD brought everything to just below the surface, and now it's all coming out.

So I've spent the morning reliving moments from my past with various people. All men, as it turns out. That's either typical or depressing. People like Pete Hansen. I would love to know where Pete Hansen is, but I'm not even sure that Pete Hansen is still alive.

And Jason Carter from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And Steve Burnett. And Lee Dempsey. And Ryan Warden. All friends who once meant so much to me, but whom I now have no idea if they are living or dead. I haven't thought of them for so long, and now I can't stop.

It doesn't help that I'm listening to the soundtrack. I really should stop that.

So anyway, today marks seven years that I have been in remission from Hodgkin's disease. I'm going to buy thank you cards for my oncologist, radiologist and surgeon and send them out next week. "Thank you for giving me a life." It's a different life than the one I had, but I'm so lucky to have it.

How do I feel about this anniversary? Mostly I just feel like, hey, it's kinda cool that I'm still alive. And then I think about all the really difficult stuff I went through to get to this point, and I feel a certain measure of pride in myself. And then I remember that, um, I really just sat there while they pumped me full of chemo drugs, or laid there while they blasted me with massive amounts of radiation (the equivalent of 312,500 chest x-rays over a period of four weeks - a chest x-ray delivers .008 rads of radiation; I received 2500 rads to my chest and neck).

So really, what did I do? Physically, at least. Mentally and emotionally I do think I dealt with it pretty well. I explained this well in the liner notes I wrote for my mix CDs. Here's an excerpt, from the second disk, "After":

8. Wilco, "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway" - This is an important song. This CD (Summerteeth) came out in early 1999. This was the point in my life, about three years after I finished treatment for HD, that I think I fully accepted everything that had happened to me and the fact that I was irrevocably different because of it. And that being different was okay. My experience has made me worse off than most people (from a health standpoint), but better off as well (I think I have a fuller understanding of the value of life). Neither thing makes me superior or inferior to people, it just makes me different. This song became my new anthem - I had embraced my experience and was going to do everything I could to make it something that ADDED meaning to my life, and I wasn't going to let it hold me back in any way. And that's the way I've tried to live.

9. Gin Blossoms, "29" - This was another song that gained so much meaning for me later in my life. I played this a lot when I was, in fact, 29 years old, because it resonated so much with what I had been through in the last few years. "Time won't stand by forever." "Only time will tell if wishing wells will bring us anything." And especially "Some rides don't have much of a finish, that's the ride I took. Through good and bad and straight through indifference, without a second look." The overriding theme of the song, I think, is that you just can't know what is going to happen in your life, and only the passage of time can make some things clearer to you. That's definitely what happened to me. At the time I was diagnosed with cancer, I didn't know what I was supposed to gain from being sick, but after a few years I started to understand, and to really truly believe, that the experience had enriched my life beyond measure.

That about sums it up.

And my 15 minute break is over, so I have to get back to work.

Posted by Julie on October 24, 2003 10:53 AM to the category Stuff About Me

Seven years! Thank fucking christ!

Posted by: overg at October 24, 2003 11:03 AM

*hugs heewig* I've always admired your strength. You rock!

Now let's RRM! *RRMs out of blog*

Posted by: Teem at October 24, 2003 11:19 AM

*hugs Teem and Overg and Rappy. And Thumper.*

You guys are the bestest. Thanks for making me smile every single day. I love you guys.

Posted by: Julie at October 24, 2003 03:20 PM

I'm so glad you made it through to enjoy even indifferent days. It's very good to know you.

Posted by: lifeonhold at October 26, 2003 11:16 PM
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