I began this blog on Sunday, Feb 16. I wrote that it was a bleak winter’s day in the city. You couldn’t really walk the sidewalks, you more or less had to shuffle along without lifting your feet. Storm after storm after storm here in the city, and most of us had given up trying to clear the stairs and sidewalks… or our salt ran out. The dogs were thoroughly delighted to be indoors and warm. They’re paper trained, but I wouldn’t give either of them an A+. The cats grudgingly adapted to the constant indoor doggie presence. The cats are raptors, see, with all their senses fine-tuned toward food that either B or I might have left out. To the cats, the dogs are a stinky, annoying distraction to the hunt. (We found that out through our animal communicator.) For Bruce the turtle, it might as well have been a blue-sky spring afternoon. Inside his terrarium, it nearly always is. And Barbara and I had a really sweet Sunday together, back when I began to write this blog. Well, I finished and posted it today, Wednesday, Feb 19. My next chemo treatment is tomoro. The chemo is causing me big time discomfort but no pain and I’m not throwing up. My brain comes and goes. I’m grateful that there’s no more to the side effects than that. (Knock wood!)
Two more weeks of treatments after tomoro's, THEN B & I go to Iceland to celebrate our birthdays (mine: March 15th & Barbara’s: March 16th). We found an awesome package last year when I first found out that chemo round one had worked, and the cancer was, for the time being, gone. Here’s our Iceland package: we’ve got five nights & 6 days hotel, a pass to the Blue Lagoon, a boat trip if the northern lights are shining, AND we've found a stable where we can go to ride short, stubby Icelandic horses!! (I think my knees are going to drag along the ground.) The day after we’re back, I begin 5 more weeks of weekly chemo and daily (weekdays) radiation. Then some more chemo for the fuck of it. Then I'm done. Or done for. Ha!!
I owe YOU my life. Truth. So, thanks. Huh. Just writing that makes me want to stay alive even more. Funny, how that works. I'm diving back into Buddhism. It was my first really deep mind/spirit puzzler, back in college and in the 60s. Koans blew me away, and Zen slapstick tickled my funny bone in a most delightful way. Now, I'm more into Tibetan Buddhism, and I'm boning up on wisdom and compassion. This, along with my dialectic behavioral therapy skills, is keeping me remarkably stable during this time. I’ll blog more when I can articulate what exactly it might be that I’m learning.
OK, here’s what’s not been a joy about this time: I’ve had to cancel my entire winter/spring touring season, over a dozen engagements that I was SO looking forward to. I’m sorry to disappoint—do know that I’m disappointed as well. I’m asking for rain checks from all the schools who wanted me to come speak or perform. Now… if you’re looking for an awesome speaker or act to bring to your campus or event, please consider contacting my booking agent, Jean Caiani at SpeakOut – the Institute for Democratic Education & Culture. These are way cool, leftie folks who make space for more radical leftie, loving voices. I really enjoy working with SpeakOut, and I know you will too.
Sad to say, I’ve also had to cancel out on International Ms. Leather, where I was slated to be both a judge and the keynote speaker. Most sincere regrets to the leather ladies of all genders. I was SO looking forward to being there with you at the reboot of such a wonderful BDSM gathering. I’m grateful and pleased that my replacement is none other than my pal & co-editor of Gender Outlaws: the next generation— the gallant, wise, well-spoken, and sexy S. Bear Bergman. Wishing him and you all a terrific time of it.
In closing—wow—I’ve finished this—it’s a beautiful, bright sunny winter’s day in the city, and that brings me to the very last thing I wanted to tell you: in what mode has your Auntie decided to face this round of treatment. Well, darling, I’m going for perky. Yes indeedy! Move over, Mary Tyler Moore. (Miss Holly Hughes says I’m more than Moore, and she wants to be my Lou Grant! Oh, purr.) Yep, perky me—that’s how I’m looking at these days of mine: with a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and a dance in every footstep.
I love you, and I’ll be in touch again sooner or later.
PS: In the spirit of perkiness, here are some signals I’d like to boost.
Art Saves Lives
I’m a firm believer in the notion that art saves lives. To that end, I wanna support some artists who are dear to me:
1) Photographer, and queer arts impresario, SD Holman has kick-started a project called “Butch: Not like the other girls.” The title alone should tell you why it’s a no-brainer that I’m backing this project.I was supposed to contribute some writing to this piece, but then my cancer took over my life’s priorities. Do check it out and contribute if you can, cuz its a jaw-dropper, a real yum-dinger.
2) I know songwriter Steven Alvarado from Twitter. Recently, I put out a call for help in dealing with nameless fears. Steven tweeted me back saying, “Stand like Wonder Woman.” I tried it. It worked—I felt better! Now, Mr. Alvarado is in a pickle and needs help with his rent. If standing like Wonder Woman makes you feel better, please help Steven out with his rent.
Reading Books Saves Lives
I can’t read much when my brain’s all foggy, but here’s what’s on my reading cue just now. These are my spirit books. I’m reading and re-reading these books by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama:
1) Advice on Dying, and Living a Better Life
2) The Essence of the Heart Sutra
3) Practicing Wisdom
For my physical #stayalive regimens, I’m reading these:
1) all of Kris Carr’s books on Crazy, Sexy Cancer
2) Healing Spices, by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, with Debora Yost
3) Life Over Cancer, by Keith Block & Andrew Weil MD
These are the fun books up on my cue, to read when I can’t write or just need to live inside someone else’s words besides my own:
1) The Rhapsody of Blood trilogy by Roz Kaveney
2) Redefining Realness, by Janet Mock
3) Changers, Book One, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper
4) The Reason I Jump, by Naoki Higashida & David Mitchell
5) The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman
6) Christian Science, by Mark Twain