I was diagnosed as bipolar about 11 years ago, but I think THEY got it all wrong. I’m not bipolar….its my life that is bipolar. I’m just a cute little cowgirl hanging on for dear life. Literally.
This last month has been perhaps the busiest month I’ve ever had…in both good or evil ways. Evil mostly won. But lets review:
- I had 12 sessions of radiation on the lower half of my face and neck, in hopes of blasting away some major melanoma cancer which made me look like Jay Leno on steroids with a chin so large it could knock cars off the freeway. Did I also mention I had the absolute worst, most severe “sunburn” from the radiation which made people’s head swivel in horror as I walked by them in grocery stores. For someone who is terribly shy (except on the internet), it was humiliating. And we won’t even get into how bad the inside of my mouth was. Raw. Burned. No saliva. Some creeping gray crud growing on my teeth. Yes, the treatment did shrink down the cancer quite a bit, but that was when I basically stopped eating.
- The cool cancer diet! Whee! When in my life have I ever felt like not eating. Since this has all started I have lost just about 30 pounds. Just think, 30 pounds without being humiliated by Bob and Jillian on “The Biggest Loser” . But yes, I do look like a totally different person now and mostly just drink protein shakes (ensure, boost) these days but only after I was sent to a nutritionist for my bad behaviour.
- School. This was one of the upsies. During a 5 month period of some serious ass cancer treatment, I managed to only miss two days of art classes. I must like totally be like the girl version of “Iron Man” fercrissakes. I kept up with about 90% of my homework. Did final pieces for both of my classes. And best of all, bonded with my teacher, who I think liked my work better than I thought initially. On the last day of my class, we had to present our finals in class. She asked me if I would feel comfortable mentioning my illness, since I’m sure the Art Glee Club was probably anxiously wondering about that freakishly weird red chinned woman. But I did get a round of applause after my “Art Heals” speech. I haven’t heard what my grade is yet for my 2 classes, but you know what? I don’t care. I just wanted to take the college art classes I always wanted to take when I was younger. Sort of like a bucket list item. The other final project for my second art class? My one woman art show at the library across the street. They don’t promote or hang themselves, ya know!
- Now this was definitely a mixture of upsies and downsies, but one HUGE UPSIE!! Yay! Who knew I was even capable of one at this point? I got an e-mail from a woman I used to work with at the newspaper where I had been a graphic artist 11 years ago. She wanted to do a story about me and my upcoming art show. What? Really? Me? I’ll take any form of attention. Sure! So we sent up an appointment the Wednesday before school ended. This seemed awfully suspect since a certain person I had been in love with did freelance writing at this place. And sure enough he called and asked if the writer had called. I verified and thanked him. I also asked him to come to my art show opening. He’s never seen any of my work. He said he was picking up his son from college down south but would “try” to make it.
- I’ve been coughing for over a month now. I had my first chemo treatment the day before the last day of school. But by Wednesday, I was coughing so hard I could barely catch my breath. “911—-what is your emergency?” Yup, I ended up in the hospital for 2 1/2 days, via ambulance. No diagnosis. It seems that when you have cancer, that is all you’re capable of having. I was all antsy in the hospital too, since Guardcat was home alone, probably watching cat porn and eating chocolate. I also had my newspaper interview coming up the next freaking day. I also had to be photographed for the article. PLUS I was originally supposed to have my chemotherapy port put in on Friday, but then they suddenly moved it up two days. Can you say STRESS, witty?
- So I finally got the port put in. Got sent home and had the absolute worst pain ever from my continuing cough. Some of my time line might be wrong, but I did get through the interview. I had a nice photo shoot out on my porch. Being a totally vain Aquarian I was worried about how haggard and tired and big-chinned I looked. The photo did come out the best it possibly could. Thanks Mike.
- More coughing followed. First chemo following Monday. First 1/2 day was fine, but oy, the pain from the coughing and something in that pharmaceutical concoction I slurped up through tubes for 6 hours went terribly awry. I was incredibly weak. I could barely get up. So… ”911—-what is your emergency?”. Yes, I went back to the hospital. Unlike the first time when I was just wheeled into the ER, this time I had to wait for over 5 hours in an overcrowded outer waiting room with winos, screaming babies,and a guy who threatened to come back with a glock and kill everyone.
- Fortunately this time, when they gave me oxygen treatments, and truly listened to my crackling lungs (even I could hear them…without a stethoscope), someone really intelligent said, “This girl has pneumonia!” And yes, it was fucking true. Yay! So I stayed in 3 days and got lots of treatments and snorted enough oxygen to float several SUV’s over Lindsey Lohan’s head, just to freak her out.
OMG, I totally forgot the most important thing! I knew these bullets were out of order since I’m on a lot of drugs at the moment.
During all this pharmaceutical/medical chaos, I managed to have my most successful art show ever. On May 13th I still wasn’t feeling real terrific. I had made a half-hearted attempt to go buy a new outfit for my show (and also because none of my clothes fit anymore). I just couldn’t. Too tired, so I came home for a brief nap before my art show. Just a cat nap really. My show started at 5 p.m. Guess what time I woke up? 5:02 p.m. YIKES!!!! I was laying on my couch in my underwear and a tee-shirt, no make up. Nothing. The You-Tube video of me running around like an insane person grabbing clothes and throwing them in the air probably would have been pretty hilarious….if it existed. Fortunately, as mentioned somewhere, my show was directly across the street, so I was practically sprinting over when I see my aunt walking towards me in great distress. She’s all like “Honey, we were so worried about you. Are you ok?” I was mainly trying to think up some clever response for being late for my own show.
Once there, the show was wonderful though. People were very nice about my lateness, saying it was fashionable to be late to your own show…..(especially if you’re a drugged up New York artist). I also had the best crowd ever (over 30 people-WOW!!). and the best part, people walking towards me with open checkbooks (I sold 5 paintings and one photograph). I’m really not kidding about being drugged up so my friend “P” served as my ”agent” keeping track of my sales and handing me checks. We even had two women who wanted the same painting, but it was first come, first serve, baby.
The show finally started winding down around 7:20 and when me and my homies gathered in the parking lot, they insisted on taking me out to the one and only Mexican restaurant in the Village. And then who comes driving up at 7:30? Married Guy and his son. I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t seen my favorite little kidlet since he was 12. He’s 18 now. And still a cutie! So I audaciously made my friends wait and took Married Guy and kidlet on their own private tour of my show. It felt really good to let him see how much I have progressed in the last 5 years. He seemed to like my work. But the most important thing….I was happy with my work. There is certainly a first for everything.
Me and one of my art idols Frida Kahlo at the restaurant afterwards