Jan 8, 2007

Changed my template, as you can see. The black and white thing was hurting my eyes. Not that I read my own blog that often, but the template had lost its novelty.

Not much been going on around here. The job hunt has so far been unsuccessful. But I haven't applied everywhere yet. I have had a lot of different jobs in the past. If it was a job I really wanted, I usually got it. The only jobs I don't really want to take is in fast food. I tried it twice. The first one I was 20, and the manager wanted me to (his words) take dictation sitting on his lap. This was before sexual harassment and all that good shit, so I just quit.

The second one, the cash register had pictures of food on it instead of numbers! I just couldn't do it. For me, it was too damn hard to hunt for pictures, than to punch numbers. Then I worked the drive-threw, where a man, waiting for me to fill his order for an ice-cream cone, accused me of being a promiscuous woman. And a lot of other things, too. I was 42 at this time, and just didn't have the coordination. This was at a time in my life where I needed a job, not a career. You know what I mean if you need money like yesterday, and take the first job that comes along. Then wait for a better job to come along. I had two kids to feed, house, clothe, and provide for, and it feels you with such desperation you will do just about anything to keep them safe.

I was in the process of going through chemotherapy after surgery for colon cancer, a bowel resection, and my husband decided to find himself, back home in Georgia, where he was born. My boys were 16 and 15, and we decided not to go with him. So he took a separation package from his job, and left. If you've ever had chemo, you will understand when I say it fucks with your head a great deal. I suffered from CRS, can't remember shit) in a huge way. I still have memory problems. Of course I had other symptoms, but the memory part was the worst for me. I used to have an almost photographic memory. Meaning my head was full of a whole lot of useless information that I could pull up like a file on a computer. Now, I have to use a very unreliable search engine, and pick the result that seems closest to what I'm looking for. The kids were always saying, Mama, you already said that. Mama, you've seen this movie before. Which was kinda neat because I could watch movies and read books over and over again, and it was always like the first time.

I remember sleeping a lot, and some other things, but it takes a while to jog my memory. People I used to know on sight are now complete strangers. Its hard to talk to someone who knows you and you got no idea in hell who they are. A lot of head nodding and smiling, and yeah, that really was something wasn't it? goes on, while you frantically search for a reason to end the conversation.

One curious thing I remember is my cat, Guilda, always laying on my stomach or back, over the area that caused so much pain. Every night she slept on top of me, and when I rolled over, she would just walk across my back as I rolled. I miss that cat very much. I was her midwife during two of her pregnancies. But, I think its true that cats sense illness and disease in people. I know Roscoe gets extremely affectionate, and meows when I get upset and cry. Then I end up comforting him, so it all works out.

That was 12 years ago, so I feel pretty comfortable saying it might not come back. Being superstitious, I will not say I am cured, and amazingly, oncologists won't say it either. To them I am a cancer patient. I have had ten colonoscopies at least, so I pretty much know the drill, and have learned a whole new vocabulary which include stool, rectum, bowel, and anus, words a lot of people would rather not say. But, of course I'm going to tell you to talk to your doctor, tell him in no uncertain terms what symptoms you are having, and don't be afraid to say constipation, or bowel movements. If my cancer hadn't been found when it was, I wouldn't be here. It would have spread to my liver and lungs, and God knows where else. You have a much better chance with a stage I cancer, than a stage IV cancer. Many other people have gone through what I have, and have lived to tell the tale.

How I got from looking for a job to cancer, I don't know, but there it is. My mind wanders. One thing I do remember is having a great deal of pain, that was more sever at times than others. My cancer was located in the cecum, where the small bowel and the large bowel are connected. I don't have one anymore, but the mass was pressing on my appendix, which caused the biggest part of the pain. I remember being in walmart, and being struck by a wave of pain so severe that I doubled over and sat on the floor. Other people shopping just reached over top of me to get their items. I would take advil by the handfuls, so now I have a very irritated stomach lining and acid reflux. But I will always remember me sitting in Walmart, contorted in pain, and people just passing by, intent on getting their items, whether they had to step over me or whatever. Looking back, I can't help but laugh. I know it sounds mean, but people see what they want to see.

You know I could write a book about this, but I won't do it here. Just one of those times where one thought leads to another thought and another, and you don't remember how you got from thought one to though three.

I will still be pursuing my job search. Something part-time is what I'm looking for, which should be easy to find as they don't offer benefits for part-timers. But I won't be working fast food. I will never figure out those cash registers with pictures instead of numbers. Only young people can figure that shit out.


Mary said...

It seems like people are so afraid to connect or reach out. What's up with that?

Anne said...

Good Monday morning, Just Me,
Very funny cartoon !

You've been through a lot in your life. I wish for you emotional, financial and physical blessings...

May it be a part-time job that you like, and close to home so the commute is easy, and pleasant co-workers and an understanding boss...

May your body know health. 12 years is a good sign - may it be another 12 and then 24 ad more !!!

May your heart know love, with your cats, your children, and the people whose lives you touch...

With empathy,

just me said...

Mary, I think people are just afraid to get involved. Or their too busy. Anne, thank you so much for your kind words. And the cartoon just illustrates what I have always suspected. And, in 24 years I will be 76. Hopefully, I'll be running around the old folks home raising hell and having a torrid romance with the guy in the next room!!

Goddess said...

I never realized that chemo affected your memory like that. Scary enough what it does to the rest of you.

If my cats so much as THINK I have the flu, they want nothing to do with me. The ingrates!

Bruno said...

I am familiar with chemo, and it's effects, although not by ME, but my late sister. And along with the chemo, there must be a will to survive. She suffered through almost 5 full years of treatments, this drug, that drug, experimental drugs. Just to see her granddaughter turn 13. She missed that mark by three weeks. As for me, I could never fight that long of a battle, knowing the outcome. But then again, I have no grandchild to give me that incentive. Besides, the financial end of such would be enough to make that decision for me. But you, lady---you keep on "keepin'-on", don't let it take you down!!!

The Future Was Yesterday said...

I always look forward to your next post. I feel like I'm sitting down over coffee, chatting. You're such a gifted writer!!

I've been down the chemo road as well. Plus, I take Dilantin for seizures, cause as of yet, unknown, which also raises hell with short term memory. re the CRS stuff: I had a wonderful Doctor back in Michigan. I was talking with him about that very thing, and he cracked: "I can't remember. I'm the same age as you.:)"

Your advice to talk plainly to your Doctor is priceless. It only means the difference between living and dying!!

Again, a wonderful post, and btw, I took a temp job a few years ago in a fast food joint. I quit after just half a day. Those damn pictures screwed me up so bad I had to whip a calculator out of my pocket and total up the order!! But those pictures on the keys? They're being punched by our future business leaders, congressmen/women...there's a cheerful thought!:)

Fuzzylogic said...

Just me,this post really moved me!I see the havoc chemos can cause and how much it really takes from you everyday in my work.You are truly a remarkable lady and your spirit is really inspiring.Tough times are what brings out the inner strength in us and many a times I have seen the mind perform incredible things that couldn't have been medically possible.You go girl!
I hope you get the job you are hoping to have soon.
The bush caricature was truly a masterpiece!

just me said...

Gosh, thank you guys for your kindness. Future, I am sorry that you had to go through chemo, but glad your here to tell the tale. Bruno, I am so sorry about your sister. My oldest sister had lymphoma, and the first chemo regimen they chose almost killed her. They did find a drug that worked.
I don't consider myself anything special because I fought the demon and won. I asked God to let me see my kids begin their lives. And he did. Mushy, thank you for thoughts, which I agree with. And I did get the job. I can't wait to work with all those kids half my age.

spadoman said...

Chemo wasn't the problem with me, (knocking wood) but I've had six, count em' six heart attacks, and two bypass surgeries 18 years apart.

Whern I hear about what you had to go through, I feel so sad and think it's a terrible thing. Then, you hear about me and think the same thing.

Bottom line, no-one wants to see his brothers and sisters go through any of it. We pray for health and happiness for the people.

We just lost a dear friend to cancer. Doctors told her 2 yuears max, she lasted 8. She was very courageous. She told us 7 years ago that she taught her kids how to live, (she had six), and now she was going to teach them how to die.

She did a marvelous job. We gave her a standing ovation at her service just last Friday.

Peace and health to all of you fine folks, and toyou Just Me. Our paths aren't paved with gold, but we're here for some reason.

just me said...

Spadoman, I am so sorry about your loss, but I understand the ovation at her service. I think it is a wonderful tribute to anyone's life, and I wish that more funerals were celebrated in honor of life well-lived. I believe my son would have wanted Green Day blasting from every speaker, and a couple kegs of beer at his service.