Monday, March 8, 2010

Communication Stories

PLEASE BEAR WITH ME!  This is going to be a long entry, since there’s so much to tell you about!  I’m trying to break it up with the use of different fonts & colours.  Also, there’s a story about men at the end of my update (in the style of my regular Brunette Lucy column).  Read at your own peril.  As always, feel free to sign my guestbook at the very, very bottom of this page.  And if you know of how to enlarge the font, I’d LOVE the advice!

Before I begin, I have an incredibly touching story to tell you!  I’d been searching for mastectomy bras on eBay, since bras in stores are generally about $50.00 each.  Yikes!  If you’ve never seen mastectomy bras, let’s just say they’re not all that pretty, so $50.00 is too much to pay for such a utilitarian item.

I found an eBay store, Smiley’s Treasures, that had a style I thought looked nice, even though the site mainly sells normal lingerie.  It wasn’t in my size, so I sent a note to the owner, Dorothy Brandes, inquiring whether or not I could get one to fit me (this accidentally ties into my rant - really).  She emailed a lovely note back, explaining that she couldn’t acquire it, but would keep her eyes open for it & wished me well on my journey.  I didn’t think anything more about it.

This morning, Matt came upstairs with a package from eBay.  I couldn’t remember ordering anything, so I was befuddled.  Inside the package was a mastectomy bra.  It wasn’t the style I had inquired about, but it was my size.  Inside was a sweet note from Dorothy.  She sent it to me as a gift, after reading this blog.  I can’t tell you how touched I was that a woman who lives in Michigan & only “knows” me from reading this, would do that for me.  She read about all the trouble I’ve been having with infections, & wanted to make my life a little easier.  Dorothy, if you’re reading this, bless your heart!  You DID make my life easier, & you made me so happy, I cried.

Folks, if you need lingerie, would you take a look at Dorothy’s eBay store?  Like I said, her main business is lingerie, not mastectomy products, but she carries both.  Now, don’t go writing her & trying to get stuff for free, though, or you’ll get the Lucy stare/glare of death!  To my fan clubs in Taiwan & Australia, this is a good alternative to some of the prices you’ve encountered!

I have to apologize for the last blog post.  Boy, was I in a bad mood.  Hopefully, I can cleanse the thought of me wishing to eat babies from your thoughts!  I can’t do anything about it burning your eyes & being seared into your brains, though – sorry! 

This round of Neulasta is so not as bad as the first one.  Matt thinks it’s because I had the infection brewing in me when I had the first shot.  I also think the Claritin idea may have something to do with it.  Either which way, it still hurts – just not as much.  And I’m not taking the pain meds nearly as much as I did the last time, so that’s GREAT!  Apparently, I get all emotional when I take them, & I forget all about whatever it was I did or said.  Until it's too late.  Sigh.

Good news to report on the bracelet front, too.  Michele made some AWESOME bracelets.  Man, she’s just whipping them out like a short order cook flipping pancakes & is working on round two.  I’m taking photos of them & will post some of them soon.  I’ve been making more as well, & my sister, Teresa, contributed to the bead inventory.  Holy Cow, she bought a boat load!  And not just basic beads, but the really cool glass & super sparkly stuff (you just know I’m drooling over them).  I’m hoping to have a basket full to bring to chemo, which is Tuesday, March 16th.  Thanks for the beads, ya’ old bat (don’t worry, this is my “pet name” for her – you should hear hers for me!)!

I want to re-iterate, though, that the bracelet idea was NOT mine!  I read it on another blog, & I can’t for the life of me remember which one.  I’d love to give that girl credit.  I just took the idea & ran with the donating thingy.  It’s pretty funny, though, how many times I get stopped (on the few occasions that I’m out these days) by people liking the stack o’ bracelets.  It’s hard not to tell them that it’s not my eclectic fashion sense;  I wear them for a reason (even though my friends all know I’m not your “typical” dresser & I’m not sure if it’s good or bad.  Probably bad, as when I quip that it takes a lot of money to look this cheap, they just smile.  Hmm.)

So, all good on the Eastern PA front.  And I haven’t had to bite Neulasta back – yet.

Now, on to my “Man Story”.

My son, Dakota, is trying to take this whole breast cancer thing with a grain of salt.  Unfortunately, it’s a women’s disease, & he’s just turning 15 this Wednesday (boy, that’s a WHOLE other story!).  Anyway, it’s not something your average male kid-type wants to discuss.  Thankfully, he has a good dad, who’s a good listener & they have a good relationship.  They can discuss the situation, & Dakota can express, as best he can, his feelings about this ordeal.  However, a discussion between the males of the species is a wonder to behold.  There is very little said, yet, they seem to get by just fine.  Me, & most women, on the other hand, spend hours on the phone with our friends.

Men, by nature, are “doers” & phone calls are brief & to the point.  You can’t bring a problem to them & just complain about it the way you would a girlfriend.  For example, this would be a typical conversation between two women:

Woman 1:      “I went to Bon Ton yesterday because they were having a sale.  They only had ONE of the dresses I wanted.  Plus, it was a size too big.”

Woman 2:      “That’s awful!  Why does that always happen?”

1:         “I know!  I went through every sale rack AND the return rack looking for my size.  Still, nothing. ”

2:         “Did you get a salesgirl?”

1:         “Good luck trying to find one.”

2:         “I think it’s a case of bait & switch.”

I could continue to write this conversation, as it could go on for hours, but you get the idea.  Usually, however, this situation is resolved in one of two ways.  The complaining & sympathizing will go on for hours until the aggrieved woman is all complained and/or cried out.  Then the conversation will change to something completely different.

The second is that between the two of them, they work up a good old case of mad.  Then, they call their other girlfriends, & they, too, work themselves into a big ol’ case of mad.  Then, they’ll all work together on a letter to the manager of the store.  This can often turn into a petition, which is signed by at least 50 of the original complainants’ friends, her friend’s friends, family members & the list goes on.  This is either hand delivered or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, followed up by several phone calls to insure that the manager of the store is aware of the grievance, & doesn’t go away until the beleaguered manager turns over “buy one get one free coupons” to each lady on the petition, along with a well thought out, 2 page apology letter.

This is what women call turning lemons into lemonade.  Men call it the  ODGMISPMISIDAYAIBNLTCOS AND/OR ABIYPJMIS syndrome (Oh, Dear God, make it stop, please, make it stop, I’ll do anything you ask, including but not limited to, cessation of swearing and/or ark building, if you’ll please just make it stop).  Don’t worry, ladies, the men know how to pronounce the syndrome, although they usually shorten it to an expletive.  That, or some other form of universal man language.

For men, however, the conversation will only go one way.  Observe:

Man 1:        “Went to Bon ton to buy a shirt.  They didn’t have my size.”

Man 2:        “Uh-huh.”

Man 1:        “Got a bigger one, tucked it in, & nobody will know.”

Man 2:        “Good thinking.  Do you think McNabb is going to leave Philadelphia?”

The information has been shared, the solution decided upon, & now it’s on to sports.  All in little more than a few grunts.  Women’s heads would spin if this was the extent of a conversation between them.  And don’t even get me started on the solution that the men worked out.  If a woman put a dress on that was one size too large, our butts would look too big.  Can you imagine THAT little tete e tete?  But, the minimalist approach works for guys.  Weird, I know, but there it is.

In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter what form conversation takes.  As long as the lines of communication are open, who cares?  Grunt, complain, laugh, joke, pound your chest, whatever.  Emotions & the ability to share them are what make us unique & human.  Having good family & friends to unburden our loads in whatever form it takes, is such a blessing.   Trust me; if I didn’t have my family & friends to support me, along with a few “earthly angels”, during this trying time, I doubt very much that I could be so optimistic.  Leaning on them & my faith in God have gotten me so much farther than if I had to go this alone.

Sometimes, the Footprints in the Sand are all types & forms of earthly angels that God sends to do His work.  Thankfully, I’ve been blessed to have been carried throughout most of this journey.

If you want to hear an inspirational song, click on this link:

Footprints in the Sand, a video by Leona Lewis.

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