Dr. Love wants YOU!

September 29, 2010

on the cusp of october – now designated as ‘breast cancer awareness month’ (oh oh oh oh oh … that i was clever enough to be diagnosed not just in breast cancer awareness month but in my birthday month also) i want to make every woman aware of dr. susan love’s ‘army of women.’  there are a few really great organizations out there – SHARE and the Susan G. Komen foundation are my favorites – both in tone and action.  but the ‘army of women’ is different.  all women can participate and the healthy, the just-diagnosed and the survivors can all find different studies to participate in where the larger group will help doctors to understand the specific parts.  PLEASE take a moment and sign up.  it is just another email in your in-box…compromise and hit ‘unsubscribe’ to your filene”s  weekly flyer email and you’ll balance yourself out.   and it will feel so good to be actively part of the solution.   

 here’s the link:  



so sick of the c word

September 20, 2010

we counted off the number of people we personally knew with cancer:  7.  i couldn’t bring myself to tell my 15.5 year old that 7 was a low number.  in reality, i personally know many more people who have or had cancer.  the thing is, at 15, i don’t remember ever hearing the word cancer.  back in the dinosaur days of the early 1970’s – i guess people got cancer but none that i knew.  none that i knew of in my family.   i knew about juvenile diabetes and heart attacks – but never heard about cancer. 

my daughter lost a teacher at school last year who did not survive cancer – and it was quite a lesson to watch my daughter navigate the formality of grieving personally and with her school community for someone who held a special place in her life.  and now another teacher diagnosed…this teacher is my daughter’s touchstone.  never her formal teacher but always her confidant and a warm slightly-irreverent refuge.  we came back from summer break to find out that her teacher was in the fight of her life.  and now i watch the waves of sheer terror mixed with utter heartache mixed with the unspoken acknowledgement that cancer kills pass through her on a nightly basis – or at least showing up when she’s most vulnerable at 10pm after a long day of school and soccer and social negotiations – none of which she can share with her charming mentor. 

i am so grateful that we can have conversations at her age of 15 and mine of 52….’cancer sucks’.  ‘fuck cancer’.  you said it.  i want to say: ‘ mine is not theirs.  i will not leave you.  i will never leave you.’  but even without cancer, that’s something no parent can actually say.  sometimes i get knotted up emotionally and need a little space…until i look at her face and realize that she needs to hold on.  so i do.  to her.  arms wrapped around.  fuck cancer. 

super spammy

September 15, 2010


it’s pretty interesting to see which posts get super-spammed and which are ignored.  i guess it’s all in the search terms.  as a breast cancer survivor, you can only imagine how many unsavory spam posts i get – seems searching ‘breasts’ ‘big breasts’  and even ‘giant breasts’ all find posts like this one:  https://beanygetsablog.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/this-doesnt-look-right/  and my spam trapper (thank you WordPress) has links to russian mail-order bride sites or invest-now.  i keep getting links to ‘free books’ but think that it must be a site that takes you to other more nefarious offerings.  my latest post on 9/11 got me a whole basket of spams  https://beanygetsablog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/my-091101/  and, of course, a post about a journalist’s view of giving up sex rang the bell for super-spam including multiple hits from just about anyone out there desperate for silly attention.  https://beanygetsablog.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/her-year-without-sex/ 

what’s your oddest spammy moment?

my 09/11/01

September 9, 2010

as a new yorker and a brooklynite, i have my story of september 11th, 2001.  that i’m here to tell that story is a privilege that so many others do not have.  i often think about that day…that week…that year…and i often think about all the undulating waves of families and friends whose hearts are still waiting for the father or sister or husband or wife or friend who will not return.

i was in a foul mood that morning and i had a walkthrough – the traditional walkthrough for a property (an apartment) that was going to close that afternoon – 12 noon in fact on williams street…4 blocks from the world trade center.  our daughter was in her first week of 1st grade in a new building.  i was running late – perhaps that accounted for my frustration.  i had become friendly with the woman who was purchasing and looked at my cell phone in frustration when it rang, smack in the middle of our inspection.  “What??? I told you I was busy with work.”  snapped.  i snapped at my husband.  all he said was: “something is really wrong.  a plane hit the world trade center.’   karen and i happened to be on the 4th floor of a 6 story building on plaza street in prospect heights, brooklyn and we raced up the internal staircase to the roof.  i remember tumbling out onto the sunny roof – and we were a straight line looking across at the two towers…directly across the east river and up the hill from it.  and something was terribly wrong.  there was a huge black…hole?  like someone had smeared a giant black smoking …not even sure…just back with the edges expanding as we watched…and it made no sense.  i grabbed my cell phone but all the circuits were busy and i couldn’t reach my husband who was just across prospect park at home in midwood.  a few other people were running up onto the roof and some had binoculars.   i was lent someone’s binoculars and tried to focus through them…it took me 2 years to make sense of the fact that i was watching things…people…falling…bits and chunks of things tumbling…it was incomprehensible.  i just stood there saying:  oh god…oh god…oh my god… and then somehow just needing to talk to anyone i knew i also called my parents but no luck and then reached my brother-in-law in albuquerque …but mostly all i said was: oh my god…this is unbelievable.   i eventually did reach my husband but the conversation didn’t change.  and then i realized that all i wanted to do was to get to our daughter … about 15 blocks away.  in the meantime, you could hear the streets filling with the screams of sirens.  more than i’ve ever heard at one time.  they were hurtling right down flatbush avenue – a straight line to the brooklyn and manhattan bridges and over to the world trade center.  so  many things happened at once – i realized just how much i  needed to get to my daughter and i saw something.   one moment there was one giant black hole in one tower and i saw a bright sharp glint in the clear sky -and then with no warning there was another giant black hole in the other tower.  i think i screamed.  turns out all i can say in a major crisis is:  oh my god.    and then i ran…down 6 flights of stairs and around the corner to the parking lot of the preschool where my daughter had previously attended and where i occasionally still parked my car when i had business in this neighborhood.  i got in and all i had to do was to get across flatbush avenue and i would be near to her.  but that took…i don’t know…i’ve never really pieced it together.  as i drove there were people walking about as if it were a normal day…they had no idea what horrors were happening past the buildings that were shielding their views.  it was surreal.  they must have been looking at my face in the car and, if they noticed, wondering what a sad tragic day i was having.  and then, as i inched across flatbush avenue onto 6th avenue, the reporter on 1010wins started screaming:  “THE TOWERS.  THE TOWER IS FALLING.  IT’S FALLING.  OH MY GOD IT’S FALLING” and i was sobbing – really heaving and sobbing – and trying not to throw up and still somehow drive my car across. 

on the park slope/6th avenue side it was eerily still – most people were at work and i zoomed the 10 blocks to my daughter’s school.  i’m sure i drove right through red lights on my way.  i turned up the street and threw my car into the space in front of the school…a no no for any driving new yorker but i just didn’t care.  i raced into the school…i was the first one there.  so quiet.  so calm.  except that the lower school secretary knew something awful was happening.   she told me that they heard on the radio that the pentagon had been attacked.  and would i wait outside and as soon as they knew anything they’d come out but that they were trying to keep the lower school kids blissfully ignorant for the moment.  and so i waited.  slowly, some parents came.  my husband arrived about 40 minutes later – having gotten on our one rinky bike and frantically riding the 6 or 7 miles to school as fast as he could.  he told me later that at one point, he rode through white ash filtering down in the air.   we didn’t know what was happening.  i thought we were being bombed.  in what seemed like hours later, 2 parents came trudging up the street – filthy and with streaks of black on their faces and clothes….they both worked right there and got out and had walked over the bridge and right to school – miles away from the brooklyn bridge.  the mom quit her job months later and never went back.  our school lost a parent in the towers.  my daughter’s 1st grade teacher’s husband worked in the towers but was late that morning and was coming up out of the subway as the towers were hit and was spared.  another parent was on the subway just coming out of the tunnels into manhattan and someone stuck their head in the train and said something about a huge fire and she got worried and went across the platform and got right on the train going back to brooklyn.  she became frantic while waiting at the school because her husband worked next to the towers and she couldn’t reach him on his cell.  she found out much later in the day that he was further uptown at a doctor’s appointment and ended up having to walk over the williamsburg bridge and then find his way home miles and miles away on foot.   like any other new yorker, as the days and weeks went on, we all learned of a friend of a friend or the husband or wife of a friend of a friend who never made it out.  my heart broke again today hearing about a woman who lost dozens of friends and colleagues – she survived and they did not. 

eventually the head of the lower school came out to tell us that they were releasing the children whose parents were there.  we stuffed the bike into the trunk and offered a ride home to a mom and her son who lived near us.  it was an eerie quiet ride home…no adult wanted to scare the kids.  while one adult was talking to the 2 kids in the back seat, one of us in the front was leaning with our ear against the radio – playing extremely low trying to find out what was happening.  did we need to take shelter?  could we even drive?  we dropped them off and went home. one of us would hang out with our daughter downstairs playing and the other upstairs with the door closed listening to the radio.  we didn’t have any cable at the time and there was no cableless tv – with the tower knocked out it was gone.  it was a blur of worry and phone calls.  

somehow we all got through it.  we lived with our windows shut for weeks.   3 weeks later the closing was rescheduled.  i got off the subway at fulton street and as i got out onto the street, i turned instinctively to the left – to the towers.  it looked like a war zone.  the smell of burnt hung everywhere.  black charcoal outlines peeking through untouched buildings.  huge water hoses laid down the middle of fulton street.  new yorkers walking but so subdued.  i promptly burst into tears and had to walk 4 blocks away to get some composure to go and do what i needed to do.  we sat in that room – about 6 of the most disparate new yorkers ever – and practically hugged each other to be there.  just to be there. 

my daughter started 10th grade this week.   i don’t pray any more.  but i hold all those people in my heart of hearts.  so much hate in the name of religion.  such a waste.

the end of an odd – but not bad – summer

September 6, 2010


i know…it’s not officially the end of summer but with school fast approaching on wednesday for my now-10th grader, it essentially is.  and for lovely husband and myself it was an odd summer.  one short trip to visit our daughter at camp and then the aforementioned ‘trip’ which was essentially a holding-pattern overnight to the canceled family reunion.  but with the kitchen reno hubby and i went into full-attention mode for most of it.  i have never made so many decisions in so short a time – one right after the other.  some of them have been dizzyingly wonderful and others are awaiting a verdict.  it seems that renovations – especially gut renovations – are the quintessential hurry-up-and-wait project.  a flurry of activity for 4 days and then nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, order-appliances, nothing, nothing, and then more in one day than anyone thought possible.  the good part – at the moment – about the quiet spaces is that we have been able to walk around with the floor, windows and cabinets in place and get used to it.  it is starting to feel like it’s ours now…even though it’s nowhere near ready –  no countertops nor appliances.  and over the summer, i get to take a break from the scheduled doctors’ visits – don’t get me wrong, i appreciate them watching out for me – and the steady stream of needle pricks coming my way  for oncology labs, annual labs, and the end of the year mri.   i cannot wait to have my basement back and, with it, my elliptical.  i’ve gained 5 pounds with this reno – eating out is hard on my waistline.   i let myself mostly not work at work and had time to reclaim – or refind – a friendship that i thought was lost a few years back – and now is so happily back with enthusiasm on both our parts.  that has made me the happiest, i think.  more than the cabinets or even the amazing wood floor 😉 

10th grader is sad to see summer behind her…she just rocked her summer hard and was nestled in with a group of amazing people who liked and respected her.  she blossomed.  i hope she finds her social niche at school this year.  

and, as always – being a true fall baby – i cannot wait for the first day i can wear my deep flannel grey cashmere cardigan sweater.  ( i just realized, i’ll match the countertops.)

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