NO MELANOMA!!!! 7.24.19

Best voicemail message ever.

Best voicemail message ever.

Whew! I never quite know how stressed out I am about a report until I get the clean results.

When it’s bad news, obviously, I don’t get the relief.

I don’t know how I would have managed a surgery on my leg. Mentally. Physically, for sure.

Many people don’t realize how much tissue they have to remove when it’s skin cancer.

I think I told the story about my melanoma? Somewhere. It wasn’t until the second surgery that I realized how much tissue they remove.

It was a rookie nurse and she made two mistakes.

She didn’t give me enough numbing stuff so that was literally one of the worst nights of my life - they had CUT into the original wound so add that into the mix - I took almost an entire bottle of vicadin which I will NEVER take again, and have not since that night in 2011 but it didn’t stop the pain. I ended up puking that bottle back up. Oh gd it was awful.

Second mistake: she left the little part of my leg they removed sitting in the specimen bottle on the counter so I could see it as I hobbled out of the room. I wasn’t supposed to see it but I’m glad I did because I was way, way more respectful of the healing process after that.

It was the shape of a diamond. They cut pretty deep because the goal is always to get clean margins. I don’t know about other skin cancers but I know with melanoma, they have to have something like 5mm of clean margins I think? Doesn’t sound like a lot. Until it’s your tissue they are removing. In order to make sure they get that, they remove quite a bit of tissue.

Anyway, the point is that it’s NO FUCKING FUN. And this is on the part of my leg without a lot of cushion so it would have taken forever to heal up, especially with having to walk on it. OMG I’m still feeling the relief.

The ups and downs of my life are no joke. But man, the relief I can feel after a report makes me feel like I can walk on air. For a short bit, at least.

I think I got maybe two hours of relief after my colonoscopy. Only to come home and find out my dad’s cancer was bad. At least that’s what they told us. Never sure what that drug did to his runner’s lungs. Cancer is slow.

He was dead a week later.

I thought I was doing pretty good. Cleaning up the kitchen yesterday. I had another broken jar situation again (who knew bone beef broth is tricky to freeze, can’t wait to share this kind of stuff here - food and nutrition and cooking for people with gut issues, it’s time, I’ve put it off for so long, I think I’m going to host a free in-person Gut class and have people come over and ask me questions, record it, and use that as a way to organize info, find out what people want to know, what I need to research, plus I get company and in-person teaching is always my number one favorite thing to do, just have to make sure there are no medical snafus in my life…).

There is a lot less stress when someone is sick. Bestie told me that after watching her mom die for over a year.

You don’t realize how on edge you’ve been until they are gone. Every thump, every text, every phone call, you’re worried that it’s something bad.

When they leave, that’s gone. It’s weird.

I’d take it back though. I would. I would have taken care of him for as long as he wanted.

It’s so strange to miss him as much as I do.

Anyway, I cut myself on a broken jar yesterday because I try to use latex gloves as little as possible so they don’t live forever in a landfill. I did finally find a box of compostable ones! Not cheap with shipping, but Mother Earth is worth it.

As I mentioned, I’m a cutter in the kitchen, not a burner. Though, since my pain tolerance is so weird now, I often don’t notice I cut myself until there is blood all over my hand.

If I didn’t want a Hello Kitty bandaid (they are in the regular band-aid wrapper so I keep thinking I’m pulling out a regular one and lo and behold, hello kitty it is), then I had to dig into my parent’s stash.

I went into their bedroom to grab a band-aid.

I haven’t been in there since the day he died.

I lost it. I saw all his clothes in the closet. And realized my mom had put away so much of his stuff - which I get that’s her way of coping, though I’m different, I still haven’t moved his car yet even though she recently suggested that I do, I’m the one who hangs onto everything forever, likes thrift stores, she likes everything new, just different, though she did give away some costume jewelry my bubby left for me and my sister after she died… - his clothes, his shirts, his toothbrush and cleaner, omg he was obsessive about gum and teeth care - all of it, I’m crying now just thinking about it.

I can’t believe it hasn’t even been a month. It feels like it’s been 10 years and also somehow 1 minute. It just can’t be real.

I remember watching him mow the lawn outside my bedroom right after we got the lung cancer diagnosis in the fall. Bad feeling. Lung cancer is not a great one. But a cruel trick for a hardcore athlete who literally never smoked a day in his life.

My mom used to smoke. They’d “study” together in college. He’d work so hard. She would just smoke and still get better grades.

He married her anyway. He loved that she was smart and strong. But not without the caveat that she quit smoking.

So she quit.

I was supposed to go out of town today so I have no appointments today! Which is lucky because I get to visit with a kid yeah!

Standing still. Not easy. Not easy at all. As long as it’s general observations about how to work with kids, I figure it’s all right. Sigh. I don’t know. I want to share some stories about my dad. I think my way of keeping it fair is to share the vignettes that are fairly general.

I don’t know. The world is going bonkers while I’m debating the nuances of my storytelling.

Democracy is dying a slow death because a guy named Bob is trying to do “the right thing.”

NOT HOW YOU FIGHT AUTHORITARIANISM - dang that’s a big word - DUDE.

Why is it so hard for so many people to see? We are at war. And we are losing.

I’m on the front lines. My dad was on the front lines. Medically fragile with a genetic condition. SO many others are also on the front lines.

We are dying, while people in leadership try to run out the clock.

I don’t know how I can do another four years of this. I really don’t. The stress alone.

I doubt I’ll have disability checks by the end of another four years. Our government will probably be bankrupt by then.

I’m trying to give myself time to figure out how the FUCK I am going to make a living, but the urgency is there. I wonder if anyone notices how few of my professional recipe developer friends responded to my request for recipes. Just looking for links, not even custom recipes….

Until the majority put the greater good over personal needs/brand/philosophy, no chance.

I feel like I keep opening a can of worms in here, and then realizing I need to qualify it.

I keep thinking about how I’m admitting to all this poly stuff, and not feeling that anxious about it. I guess it’s probably been stuck in me for so long, it feels like a relief to get it out. Plus I figure only the people who really love me are reading this (I think?) and also, WHO CARES how other people live?

I’ve always felt that way - even as a kid, I remember being surprised that people were so judg-y about how others live their life. I didn’t know how I wanted to live, I just knew I wanted to do something that felt right for ME. I also didn’t get why we all had to live the same way - I remember being super confused about that as a child. Why? Why do I need to do what that person is doing and that person and that person?

Maybe it’s because I always looked so different. And a Jewish kid in a predominantly white area. Who knows. I just know I always felt different and questioned the status quo from the get go.

The truth is: I’ve always leaned toward being a sharer. I just didn’t understand what it was. Can you imagine? How much of a freak I felt like at a young age? Not wanting to get married and…possibly even things I didn’t know about, let alone understand. I’m trying to tap into the feelings I had then about it…I remember discovering at a young age that I didn’t want to live the way that so many others seem to run to. I realize now I was simply too young for the responsibility of it. But also, I didn’t want to be in charge of another person - which was the only role I saw - it was either be bossed around, or be the bossy one - those were the only “templates” I had until I was well in adulthood, and already had some fears locked in. And neither of those things appealed to me. Maybe that’s tied up in the fact that I was put in charge of SO much as a kid. The one thing that turned me off about traditional marriage was the idea of me cleaning up after someone. But it also went further, I didn’t want to feel like I could tell the other person how to live their life. This also was based in the fact that I didn’t want anyone else telling ME how to live my life.

They got it. The few that encountered me during that young and confused version of me.

The guys get it. That I wanted to do my own thing and not fall into any traditional roles.

Are we hard-wired for this? This is a conversation one friend who is poly and I discuss. Are some of us hard-wired to be in a two-person relationship? And others different? Based on my limited research, I think it’s quite possible.

I keep adding to the buckets that this new world keeps creating. It’s a lot to process.

Just to clarify: I do get jealous! But mostly when people TRY to make me jealous. I used to get angry (I think I threatened to cut a man’s balls off once when I was young, ok I don’t think, I know I did say that. I threw duct tape across the room as hard as I could and said that. Needless to say, he heard me loud and clear. Oh that temper of mine….). Now I just find it irritating. It’s one thing if it’s on ME, and it’s my own feelings of insecurity.

But I find it especially irritating when a man * tries * to pit women against each other.

Did I tell the story about the guy that LITERALLY brought another woman on our date? OMG.

I spent the whole time trying to chat with her, while he tried to pay attention to me - she was the decoy. We’d known each other for a long time, so I ended up chewing him out for hurting the other woman and using her - she was clearly very enamored with him, and lord, it’s a little cringe-y to think about how she looked at him with those sad eyes, and he was trying to talk to me. Just thinking about it all these years later, and I can feel my skin heat up. If we weren’t at my favorite restaurant where I ordered my tuna burger with wasabi dressing (and hell yeah, I remember what I ordered over 10 years ago, this story is seared in my mind - lightly seared because you don’t want to overcook tuna…hehe), and it wasn’t someone I’d known for many years, I would have left. But like I said: I often have trouble letting go, and he and I had known each other since we were kids.

I find that shit beyond weak and juvenile. Sometimes I play along, because I want to see what else they’ll do. I like writing this shit in here or sharing stuff on the podcast, because I’m in awe at how I’ve created a How to Not Piss Me Off manual on the Internet. And yet.

I’m enjoying my last weeks of Friends on Netflix. I’m near the end of the whole series so the timing is good. It’s SO FUCKING stupid but I like watching it and ripping on it. I have no idea what point I was going to make. Dammit.

I was going to write about how idiotic the character Joey is. They’re all kind of awful people if you really start to study them from that angle. Selfish, weird, why were they always sitting in a coffee shop or at home in New York City? The whole premise is bizarre.

Dammit, the point still hasn’t come to me.

Oh! I remember. It was the episode where Joey thought he could speak French. And Phoebe loses her mind at first, because he is clearly this clueless white dude who thought he could speak another language by making some random sounds.

She ends up covering for him later to protect his ego.

And I thought: yes, this is a perfect illustration of what we’ve had to do for so long.

Pitting me against another woman…frankly, it makes me cringe now. Such an embarrassing tactic. And as I’ve mentioned here, all the more embarrassing when each one thinks they’re doing something that’s never been done before or isn’t easily recognizable!

It’s another draw to the poly world, which is why I’m mentioning it here. I hate hate HATE how jealousy is used as a weapon in the monog world. Always have. I’ve had it happen at parties, in all kinds of situations. Nothing quite as blatant as the dude who brought the other woman on a DATE. I feel like I told that story but don’t remember reading it when I reviewed my posts recently. I heard he finally settled down. Took him a long time.

He was so angry. At women. Me and the other woman definitely felt it! Immaturity? Insecurity for sure. His energy that night…I remember wanting to get far, far away from that energy.

I’m too blunt for the monog world. Or maybe not anymore. Maybe the world is changing, shifting, so fast, we are all dizzy from so many seismic changes in our country, our world.

I definitely feel like I was born in the wrong generation. That is for sure. When I talk to these young people, and they are so relieved to talk to me. And I am so relieved to talk to them!!!!

I have no idea what this next chapter will be for me. What I can handle. What I can’t.

It’s terrifying. To keep having to reorganize my world view - not able to eat, living with family, with dad, sick dad, no dad, disability checks, medical world, will I survive it?

Can I survive it?

Am I being a fool for running so hard from something that could ultimately help me?

Probably. I’ve been a fool so many times. I don’t know why I would struggle to consider I could be a fool now.

Maybe I could do a dyad. Maybe I can’t. I have no fucking idea what’s next. Or how I’m going to survive. Or make a living. Or where I’ll live.

I do know this: I only want to live under the Matriarchy and it’s way of functioning, where honesty, maturity, and honoring each person’s uniqueness are givens.

Not bonuses.

It’s scary though. Not knowing what the hell is next now that I know surgery is off the table. For now.

Do I get to coast through my river for a few? Do I get to actually RELAX this August? Maybe go away with my cousins on a camping trip? Not sure it’s relaxing with a bunch of kids under the age of 10! As long as everyone knows I can be like grandma, and keep an eye on them but not doing things like wiping their ass in the bathroom.

There is one kid - oh gd I love him so much but I won’t embarrass him by revealing which one - who was in the bathroom in this house. He was six, and only wearing bathing suit bottoms and no shirt.

I hear: Auntie Julie Auntie Julie!

I find him in the bathroom, buck naked, his suit on the floor, bent over by the toilet.

He said: can you wipe my butt?

I was like WHAAAAA?

He has amazing motor dexterity, very quick reflexes, this one. I take that all into account. I’m not going to shame a kid who struggles - I always assess what they are capable of before I push them to the next level - teacher habit.

I said: NO! You’re six years old, for pete’s sake, wipe your own ass.

So he did.

And grown men think they can get away with their silly little games. Hahahahaa. Think they can fake French to a fluent speaker.

WIPE MY BUTT.

What if they never hear: no wipe your own ass. Clean up after yourself. Be mindful of others’ feelings. Don’t always CENTER yourself and your feelings in every situation. The most famous quote ever from a white male I’ve ever heard was: why would I consider your feelings?

For real. Someone legit said that to me.

I was the pawn that time. To make someone else jealous. And I called him out on it. I suggested that he consider my feelings.

He said: why would I consider your feelings?

Um, because I’m a person with feelings and you don’t get to just * use * me for the convenience of boosting your ego? Um? Catch that?

Says so much, that Friends storyline.

It’s hard. I can’t imagine. I’m very conscious of the fact that these boys in my life are entering the world when white men stock is slowly in a tumble down (though many are still not wanting to see it - staying off the Internet is seen as something as a “plus” by many in my peer group but they aren’t getting how much they’re missing and how quickly things are changing). I guess I can imagine a little which is why I’m empathetic. I just wish more would listen.

My dad.

Too many people didn’t believe me. Now he’s dead.

How do I inspire and not shame? How do I open minds without banging their head against the wall? (Or throwing duct tape across the room?) How do I channel my frustration into art and education? How do I use entertainment to enlighten? How do I activate a bunch of really good ones?

Maybe I’ll create a focus group! I don’t know.

Or is it all headed in the wrong direction without much hope? I hate going down that road. It’s so antithesis to who I am, to give up hope.

Hell, if I wasn’t at my core, an optimist, I’d be dead a long time now.

Why did my dad go? And I stayed.

I know, I know…my friends at coffee yesterday gave me a hard time for even going down the thread of: what if I’d been able to do more for him this winter…?

How do we take responsibility for our actions but not let them shame us? How do we perceive ourselves and our actions as objectively as possible?

Is that even possible?

I don’t want to be angry anymore. The world is full of so much anger.

I want to make people laugh, open minds, and find ways to support marginalized in ways that create sustainable, lasting change.

I want to show people HOW TO LOVE. I never thought of myself as someone that could do that! But there is so little of it going around. And I know I must be ok at it. I just struggle to receive it.

How do we make REAL change that creates a lasting impact?

That was a BIG piece of what we discussed a lot in the Food Movement.

Is this a sustainable change? We didn’t look at it from the angle of White Savior (look it up if you’re white), but we did address a lot of injustice integral to the food system. Food deserts, schools without funding for things like farm to school, shitty lunches that were often the only meal the low-income kids ate all day, next to their wealthier counterparts who had parents making organic sandwiches etc.

I want to think clearly in this next chapter. As clearly as possible.

I’m a fairly strategic thinker, but I made so many mistakes in my food career, and now, my brain feels so fuzzy so much of the time, I worry I can’t think straight.

Maybe I really should have a focus group of sorts. Hash it out. I have a friend who sent a note with his mom to give to me at shiva. We used to write together in New York. A few other friends have reached out too, could be a board of advisors.

I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I just miss my dad.

Even the grumpy version that I got. Watching basketball, all year long, baseball, soccer, football, track and field, all of it. He loved it.

How do I honor his legacy?

I guess creating a little group from his friends for this. And a group for me, means that I’m asking for help. That I don’t think I need to do this all on my own.

It’s utilizing all those baskets of eggs I’ve left strewn around. Maybe have a few young people too? Look at me working things out in here.

I’m getting sleepy, no surprise. I’ve been doing a lot lately. Summer time is awesome because I’m more social, but it’s exhausting. Need. To. Stretch the visits out over the whole year seattle. Not everyone is paired up…my family is my community.

Ok short nap. Then I need to format recipes. I’ve really got to do that soon. The thing is, none of them are ideal. I think I’ll read some online. Maybe with the kid, he is such a good baker.

Closing my eyes.

Much love,

Jules