Weight Rant

Weight Rant

I will mark this day in my calendar. May 12, 2017 – I am no longer “Morbidly Obese;” I am no longer “Obese;” I am no longer “Overweight.” For the first time in my life I am now considered “Normal Weight.” How long will this last? I have no idea. Maybe just for the next hour, maybe for a day or so, maybe a month, or maybe I’ll become “Underweight” some day, although this is highly unlikely. But the point is that I am now considered normal. Because, you see, if you’re even the slightest bit bigger than what society says you should be then you are far from normal.

For the past 64 years, 10 months, and two days I’ve been told that I wasn’t normal by the actions and remarks of family, friends, and total strangers. “Sharon, you have such a pretty face, you should lose weight and show it.” “Sharon, you should lose weight because your uncle doesn’t like fat people.” “Hey you fatso, eat a salad and lose weight you lazy bitch.” Those words and much worse were said to me throughout my life. My aunt said that thing to me about my uncle when I was 12 years old.

A cousin lectured me about my weight when we were both in our twenties. She said that losing weight was easy. Yeah, it’s easy when someone who weighs 100 pounds soaking wet is saying it’s easy. When she turned 45 or 50 she started putting on weight and became “obese” and then called me to tell me how hard it was to lose weight and no one understood what she was going through and all everyone did was lecture her. Really? I thought losing weight was easy.

I was working at a company that put out the Yellow and White Pages back in the 70’s. One day I had the nerve to put a hard candy into my mouth. A co worker, Maria, said, “I thought you were on a diet.” Why did she think I was on a diet? Because I told her? No. Because she was part of the diet police? Or maybe it was because I was fat and not allowed to have a piece of hard candy.
In the 80’s I was an editor at a big financial institution and was eating lunch at my desk and one of the secretarial supervisors looked at what I was eating and told me that I should think about eating better. I had the nerve to be eating some tuna fish. Guess tuna fish isn’t allowed to be eaten either when you’re fat. Let’s start making a list: no hard candies or tuna fish allowed. Another 100 pound when soaking wet person who ended up obese when she got older heard from.

Now I have to talk about my grandmother. My cousins are not going to like this because they never saw the grandmother that I will describe. She hated me and my sister and I suspect my mother too because we were all obese. She might have included my father on her hate list just because he married my mother. He wasn’t obese.

My grandmother would constantly make comments to my sister and myself about our weight and not the nice comments but evil ones. The kind of comments that made you want to stay away from her forever, which my sister ended up doing. When grandma tells you how ugly you are and how you don’t chalk up to the rest of her grandchildren because of your weight then you don’t want anything to do with grandma.

How about strangers? People who you never saw in your life feel they have the right, more like “morally obligated,” to lecture and call you names because you’re fat. They’d tell me how unhealthy I was because of my weight. Duh, yeah, I know, fat equals dumb and I would never know that being fat was unhealthy. Thank God some stranger felt they had the right to tell me this otherwise I would never have known.

My sister died from colon cancer. The last three months of her life all she could eat, when she could eat, was yogurt and ice cream. We were alone, our parents were dead, of the few family members who knew of her dying no one called or helped out at all except for one or two. I was a mess trying to figure out how I was going to survive after watching my sister die this horrible death.

One July day my sister asked me to buy her some ice cream, the kind that had chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. I was happy to do it and a little relieved that she was hungry for anything. I went to the corner grocery where the owners and people who worked there knew about my sister dying. The owner always gave me yogurt for her without charging me.

But this one July day I was online to pay for the ice cream when an older man looked and me, looked and the ice cream and started yelling at me. “You’re too fat to eat that. It should be illegal to allow people of your size to buy and eat ice cream. Put that back and do something about your weight.” I stared and this man and wondered if I could get away with hitting him. I wondered if I even cared if about the consequences of such a violent reaction, when the clerk who was ringing up the ice cream called over the owner and said something to him in Russian. The owner took the man aside and started yelling at him in Russian and kicked him out the store. Then the owner came to me, apologized profusely, gave me the ice cream for free, and handed me a ton of yogurt for my sister.

When I got home my sister saw how upset I was and asked what was wrong. I said everything was fine and that it was just hot out. I gave her some ice cream and she wanted me to eat some with her so I put some in a plate and sat on her bed with her and we talked. Yes, I ate the ice cream but I never told my sister about what happened in the store. She died three months later.

So I want to say to all you “caring people” who feel obligated to make remarks to fat people for “their own good” to mind your own business!

Back to this morning when I weighed myself and saw that after one year, nine months, and 12 days of struggling I’m finally considered normal weight and with the right BMI. I then slipped into my pants which is sized at an 8/10. I lost 176 on my own. No surgery. No real help except from my cardiologist who was my main cheerleader as the pounds came off. He’s prouder of me than I am of myself.

This isn’t my first time around the block with losing 100 pounds or more. It’s my third or fourth time around. For those of you who don’t know, which is most of you, losing weight can be easy, keeping it off is the hard part. That’s yo-yo dieting. You do well losing weight and suddenly you stop losing weight. The body is fighting the weight loss and the hard part is to keep going and not give in to the anger and hunger you feel as you still exercise, stay within your calorie limit, and still see no progress and sometimes even some weight gain. Yep, I have gained weight at times while maintaining an 800 calories eating plan.

You might say, “But Sharon, isn’t the struggle worth it? You must look great.” I don’t look good. I look like a walking clothespin. My face looks drawn, my skin is sagging, my shape is gone. No more curves at my hips or at my bust. My breasts hang on me like two flat pancakes. I looked better when I weight 30 pounds more than I do now. But I want my doctor to see me at this weight and let him decide.

Am I happy being a “normal” weight? Yes and no. Yes because I blend into society better now. No one feels the urge to stop me in the street and abuse me because of my weight. No one knows I’m there.

I’m not happy about this new “normal” weight because people who’ve lived in this neighborhood with me for years are now friendlier to me. “Hi, how are you?” they ask. Why didn’t they acknowledge me like that three years ago, or five years ago, or 10 years ago? I was friendlier then. Now I’m mean and my face shows it. I don’t talk to them, or anyone really because I’m in a perpetual state of anger, or is it hunger? I don’t know. But I do know that if and when, I gain the weight back they won’t give a damn about how I am and will go back to making nasty remarks.

Nope, losing weight has done nothing much for me except to allow me to become invisible in a world where invisibility might be best.

Signed – Hungry old lady

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The Haunted Library

The Haunted Library

The library is haunted. Why is that such a shock? We all know it, we even talk about it in whispers. It’s never been a secret. But what’s really interesting is that 60 plus years ago the library was located about three blocks away from where it is now and it was haunted then too. When the library was moved to this new location the ghosts came along with it. The spirits followed the books and silently watched as different librarians took control.

The library watched as patrons entered the new building and the rules and regulations became lax. Sixty years ago you weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper and even then the stern librarian would glare at you. Now talking is allowed, beverages are allowed, ringing phones are allowed, screaming kids are allowed. No more are patrons shushed for uttering the lowest of sounds, anything goes at the library in this new age of technology. An age that the library spirits never imagined.

The library doesn’t like this change. It doesn’t like that the silent respect for it is gone. It isn’t happy so it allows its ghosts and spirits to haunt the new building especially after closing time. And sometimes a very sensitive person, like myself, can hear the library whisper to itself about the changes telling the wandering angry library spirits to be prepared for when the library closes for the day. Because when the last librarian leaves for the day it’s time for the ghosts to take control.

The library was closed for over a year. “Restorations,” the city said. “It will be better when it reopens,” the city said and when it reopened, over a year later, there was no difference. The chairs were the same and the tables were the same, but the setup was a little different, and there were less books. The library was not happy.

Everyone was welcome to the library grand opening. The crowd sat and lightly applauded as councilmen gave speeches and apologized for the six-month delay of the opening.  “New heating system, new cooling system, more computers,” they bragged. All of that might be true but the real reason the library was closed was because the city knew about the ghosts living there and these spirits had to be exorcised. The ghosts knew too much and they were getting much louder than they were in the previous century. Pretty soon non-spirits would be able to hear the complaints.

The library is still haunted. I’ve been there at least ten times since it’s reopening and the ghosts are still haunting the shelves. I saw my friend Janet there today. But not the 65 year old Janet, who might or not still be alive. She was very sick the last time we spoke seven years ago. Instead of the older Janet I saw the five year old Janet, the one who was wearing her school dress with patent leather shoes and her little white socks. The Janet who ran around the card catalogs at the old library, the one who was interested in the Dewey Decimal System by the time she was ten years old.

Five year old Janet spotted me, smiled and ran over and took my hand. “Where have you been, Sharon? We’ve been waiting for you to come.” “Who’s been waiting for me?” I asked. “All of us.” Janet said indicating a corner of the room which on first glance appeared empty but then I saw them. I saw some other patrons from 1960, people who I haven’t seen in decades.

I also saw Madeline who lived in all the Madeline books I read as a kid; and there was the Phantom Tollbooth with Milo and Tock standing guard; I saw the three children from “Half Magic” and remembered how one of them, while sleeping, wished that his dead father would come back. I remember how I felt when I read that part as a child thinking that I would wish that too if my dad died. I have wished that many times as an adult. I saw the little child knight I read about in a book who had the mumps and his cheeks became so swollen that he couldn’t get his head gear off.

I saw Stephen King’s clown laughing in the back showing his sharpened teeth holding his dangerous colorful balloons. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight were there talking with some other knightly characters. And trying to take control of the situation was a librarian from 60 years ago who was hushing everyone.

My mother was there too looking up from her book to smile at me. I’m pretty sure my sister and father were there too along with some of my cousins and long gone friends.

“See, Sharon, we’re all here. Your friends, family, and characters you’ve loved to read about. Stay with us Sharon, we’ve been waiting for you.” It was tempting, I wanted to stay but I turned to Janet and told her that I had to get home. It was 5:55 PM and the guard was making the announcement that the library would be closing in five minutes and to proceed to the checkout machine to borrow books. Janet looked up at me  and said, “Check out machine. The librarians used to check out our books. You remember when they did that and now you have to do it yourself.” Yes, I remembered.

“Please proceed to the machine to borrow your items, shut off your computers, and please log off all devices you have connected to our WiFi” the guard stated.

“WiFi, computers, devices, do you really like this better? Wouldn’t you rather stay with us here in 1960?” Janet asked. “No. No, not really. I do prefer 1960 but my cousin is coming by tomorrow and I promised him I’d be home. I can’t stay today but I’ll come back for a visit on Saturday. But one day I will stay here with you in 1960. We will play again, Janet, and maybe all our other childhood friends will be around too. Then we all can talk with the book characters and be happy all together again. But I can’t stay now, maybe in ten years, maybe in 15 years maybe within a year, I don’t know but when the time comes I will stay here and haunt the library with all of you.”

Janet dropped my hand and gave me a small wave as did the little knight and the clown, “It.” “I’ll be back to visit day after tomorrow” I sadly said because, the truth is, I would like to stay with them and see my old childhood friends, and maybe seek out Robert Frost and Herman Melville and other authors. They have secrets to tell me, dangerous secrets that the city tried to silence by the having the new “renovations.”

It would be nice to stay but that won’t be for a little while. Until then I will visit my old friends, books and people, at least three times a week.

Yes, the library is haunted and everyone knows it. The renovations didn’t get rid of the spirits living there. They will always be there, forever, and one day so will I.

To see more of my childhood memories go to  S.A.K. Remembers on my blog.

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The Ghostly Flutist

The Ghostly Flutist

I talk and write about my sister, Adrienne, a lot. She was very important to me. When she died from colon cancer in 2009 I thought my life was going to end too. It was horrible. But I somehow got through it even though I still get very depressed and think a lot about her when her birthday rolls around on March 21. March is also Colon Cancer Awareness month.

Not many people know this about Ade but she was a gifted flutist, or flautist if you prefer. She started playing the flute when she was in 7th grade and by the time she was in college her talent was incredible. She majored in music as an undergraduate and when she went on for her graduate degree. I was so proud.

Everyday she’d practice for hours filling our apartment building courtyard with classical music. Mr. Brovender, who lived on the second floor opposite our apartment, would sit and listen to Ade’s practice sessions. Once his wife asked him a question and he turned to her and said, “Hush, Adrienne is playing her flute.” Mrs. Brovender, who wasn’t angry at her husband, told my mother that story.

Ade could have had a great career but in her 20’s arthritis got to her fingers and shortly thereafter the disease went to her hips and by the time she was in her 30’s she could barely walk. But she always kept playing her flute. Her fingers hurt all the time as she played but she couldn’t give up her love of that instrument.

Then the cancer manifested itself a few years later. Her health problems were too much for her and she had to stop playing but she listened to her classical music all the time.

Eventually Adrienne passed. The last three years of life had no music in it. She couldn’t play and she didn’t want to listen to music any longer.

Adrienne told me where she kept her two flutes and her piccolo and after her death every so often I would put the cheaper flute together and blow a note. She taught me how to get a note out of her instruments. Playing a flute and piccolo is a little tricky. You don’t just put your lips on it a get a note to come out. You have to kind of put it below your bottom lip, twist the instrument up, bring your lips down, breathe a little air into it, and with any luck you get a note. You do that all while holding both arms up at mouth height pressing on a ton of buttons. Well, it was tricky for me.

About two years ago I was laying in bed reading. The light was on, it was the middle of the day, and I was wide awake when suddenly I heard two notes from a flute. I looked up and around the room, my heart thumping. The room was quiet. I thought maybe I heard a pipe making noise or someone doing something or other in another apartment. Noise travels strangely in apartment buildings.

After a few minutes of listening I decided that I didn’t hear anything and went back to my book. Things were quiet and I was happily reading for another seven minutes or so when I heard the two flute notes again. I was afraid now. The notes came from Adrienne’s bed where she spent so much time lying through her cancer ordeal. I looked at the bed, stopped reading, and listened some more. All was quiet the rest of the day and that night.

The next day I was reading in the bedroom during the afternoon and I heard the flute again. I put the book down and laid there listening, not doing anything else. Ten minutes later the flute notes chimed out for the fourth time in two days. This was too much for me. I sat up in bed and said out loud, “Ady, I know you’re playing your flute to let me know that you’re still with me and love me. I know you don’t want me to feel alone and to understand that you’ll always be with me and I do need to know that. But you playing your flute frightens me. I don’t know why but it scares me. I know you would never hurt me but please don’t play your flute to me. It really frightens me to hear it.”

That was the last time I heard her playing. I feel bad asking her not to play because I knew she was doing it for me. I know that Ade is still walking around this apartment. I feel her, I sense her. Sometimes her presence is so strong that I say hello to her and tell her I love her and am happy that she’s still with me.

You can believe this or not, I’m not writing this to convince anyone that my sister is somehow still around.

Is there life after death? I don’t know but I tend to believe there is or I hope that there is because  I need to talk with my sister again.

As for Adrienne’s flutes and piccolo, I’ll keep them and when I pass they will be sent to my good friend and “sista” in New Jersey who loves flute music as much as Adrienne and myself.

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This is an old Polaroid of Adrienne in 2004. She couldn’t walk because of her arthritis. Her walker is just out of camera view.

To see more of my childhood memories go to  S.A.K. Remembers on my blog.

 

Cancer Is Not Always Pink – Dress In Blue Day -March 3, 2017 – Graphic Details

Cancer Is Not Always Pink – Dress In Blue Day -March 3, 2017 – Graphic Details

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and tomorrow is Dress in Blue Day. Please wear something in blue to support your fight to end this cancer. I know everyone has their causes and Colon Cancer is mine. I’ve written about my sister’s battle and there are so many others struggling to become a colon cancer survivor.

Most people don’t like to talk about Colon Cancer. It’s not pretty, not that any cancer is, but Colon Cancer deals with a very personal part of the body. It’s ugly. To be brutally clear here, you defecate in a bag that is attached to your stomach. Through surgery your rectum is attached to the stomach and when you have to move your bowels everything comes out from there into a bag. Many health insurance companies only allow for  ten bags a month so each bag has to be used for three days. You have to empty the bag and then clean it before you reattach it to your stoma, which is the rectum that is now at your stomach.

Grossed out yet? I have more. The stoma bleeds very easily, IF you scratch it while cleaning it or scratch it while changing the ostom bag it will bleed -a lot. Think of how much a hemorrhoid bleeds. The stoma is very delicate

Want to hear more? There are times when the stoma become prolapsed. That’s when the bowel protrudes through the stomal opening in the skin to a greater extent than was anticipated. The amount of protruding bowel can vary from 2-3cm to more than 10cm. Although when this first happens it can be very distressing and frightening it is usually not serious. My sister’s stoma grew to 9 inches. She had 9 inches of stoma hanging from her stomach. They had to operate on her to take the hanging portion off. The doctor said it was like removing a penis. That’s how big and thick it was.

And here’s another good one – visiting nurses aren’t allowed to change the bag, at least not back when I needed a nurse to stay with my sister for a day while I had to go to a Disability appointment. I was told to have a neighbor come in and help my sister change her ostomy bag. A neighbor! A visiting nurse wasn’t allowed to change it but a neighbor was qualified? I didn’t make my appointment that day.

I can tell you a lot of horrible stories about Colon Cancer but thinking back on all of that upsets me.

But I will ask you to wear something blue tomorrow, March 3, 2017 to HONOR everyone who is going through this dreadful type of cancer and to honor their caregivers too.

If possible change your Facebook image for an hour tomorrow with the blue star that I’ll post at the bottom of this page.

Colon Cancer is not for the squeamish. It’s devastating and deadly. If you’re over 50 and don’t really watch what you eat get checked. There are symptoms but you don’t always have them but beware of blood in your stool and pains in the left side of your stomach.

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The Dead Sea and Cousin Marty – Video

The Dead Sea and Cousin Marty – Video

There’s a lot I can say about my Cousin Marty. He’s generous, thoughtful, cares for everyone, respects women, will go out of his way to help anyone even complete strangers, and Marty has had some interesting things that has happened to him during the course of his life.

A few months after Hurricane Sandy hit New York Marty was out walking in a park and a tree branch fell and hit him on his head. His head now has an indentation in it from the branch. Newspaper articles were written about the incident. Marty was determined that something like this would never happen to another person so he fought to get all those loose tree branches cut down.

But this is a story about what happened to him in Israel. He was walking along the Dead Sea like many others do. There was no one around in the desert when Marty was taking his stroll but he did find a tree branch that resembled a staff. For some reason he picked it up and resumed his trek.

Did you know that there’s quicksand by the Dead Sea? I didn’t until Marty told me how he stepped in some and started to sink. He was alone, the day was about to end, the tide was coming up and there’s my cousin with one leg in quicksand and the other leg on sturdy land. He couldn’t get out, he couldn’t move. He then realized that he was holding that tree branch that looked liked a staff and with its help he was able to pull himself out of the quicksand. Whenever he tells me this story he always says, “Sharon, without that staff that I happened to find in the desert you wouldn’t be talking to your Cousin Marty now.” Very true, Marty, very true.

Marty is a filmmaker and I’m very proud to say that his films have been up for awards at various film festivals. Here’s one he made about the Dead Sea. It only runs about five minutes and Marty gives a lot of information about this beautiful area. There’s also a picture of him with a tree. Not the same tree that held the branch that helped Marty get out of the quicksand but a tree near the Dead Sea.

To see other videos by Marty Novitsky see Marty’s section on my blog

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The Second Street Playground and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Second Street Playground and the Cuban Missile Crisis

When I was growing up the second street playground was about four blocks or so from where I lived. My dad always called it the “measles, mumps, and chickenpox” playground claiming that everyone who played there always got sick. I think he just didn’t like going there because he preferred the playground on Ocean Parkway. The Ocean Parkway one was beautiful, surrounded by trees, and it was much larger than the one on second street but that’s another story.

My cousins Donna and Susan and I always went to the second street playground, chancing all those measles, mumps, and chickenpox germs. It was always filled with kids playing on the swings, the monkey bars, playing basketball, and sother tuff. It was a nice enough neighborhood park.

The swings for the older kids were in the back of the park, closer to the street and the baby swings for toddlers were in the front, closer to the boardwalk.

Donna, Susan, and I hung out on the older kids swings, after all we were 10 years old. Well, Susan and I were 10 Donna was 11. My cousins would take to the air on their swings, flying up high while standing on the seat. Me, nope. I sat on the swing, making sure one foot was always touching the ground. Heights frightened me, heights still frighten me. Let’s face it, I’m a born coward.

That summer of 1962 my favorite pair of shorts were my white ones. I had three pairs of white shorts and wore them everyday during the warm season. Granted, one pair was a little snug on me because not only did I like my white shorts I also liked ice cream which caused one pair of shorts to become a bit snug. I was lucky all my shorts weren’t snug.

Anyway, picture this – late summer beginning of fall in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York – the year was 1962. Donna, Susan and I were commenting on the political problems of the world. Ha, hardly. Ten year olds didn’t really care about politics back then but we knew something big was going on. Our parents were nervous and in whispered voices kept talking about war, President Kennedy, Cuba, and Russia. Donna, Susan, and I didn’t know what was really going on but we were frightened because our parents were frightened. All the adults tried to cover their fear to the kids but kids know when adults are worried and we were worried because they were worried.

One warm afternoon we were sitting on the swings, I’m not sure if my snug white shorts were on or I was wearing a pair of jeans, but we were sitting on the swings. Donna and Susan was swinging like I was, foot on the ground just going back and forth a little.

I remember looking at the boardwalk and the beach beyond figuring that I was staring to the south. Wasn’t Cuba south of us I wondered. Having an active imagination I was able to visualize Cuba hurling bombs directly at Brighton Beach. The missiles flying over Florida, the Carolina’s, the Virginia’s, DC, and New Jersey, aimed right at my New York community. Cuba wanted to destroy Brighton Beach. I knew it like I knew I’d have to get a larger pair of shorts the next year, if I survived the Cuban missiles that is.

The second street playground would be nothing but ashes; all of Brighton would be a towering inferno; Brighton Beach Avenue would be gone, and so would I and my parents, my sister, my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother, friends, and neighbors. This is where my history of panic attacks started. In the second street playground, in October of 1962.

Yes, I was afraid and even though I didn’t voice my fears to Donna and Susan they had the same panicked look on their faces.

Of course, as we all know, Kennedy got us out of that mess. Brinkmanship they called it when I studied the crisis in college.  

So today I took a walk to the second street playground. It’s still there but looking far different than when I was a kid. There weren’t any children playing probably because they were in school and it was cloudy, windy, and cool out. But I was there. My 10 year old self was there too carefully  swinging on the swings, watching for the Cuban missiles to take us out. I could swear that I also saw Donna and Susan swinging right by my side even though they were both taken out a few years back from another sort of missile called breast cancer.

Exactly 54 years later I found myself standing on the boardwalk, looking at the second street playground remembering what went on over five decades earlier. It’s very strange that whenever I think of the many years I swung on those swings all I can really recall were those days in late October of 1962 when I thought that Brighton Beach wouldn’t be around for much longer.

No, I luckily did not live through a war but the threat of possibly living through one is still nagging at me and the memory of it is still alive and kicking. I guess some things you never forget.

An Ode To My Sister and Her Cancer

An Ode To My Sister and Her Cancer

On October 13, 2009 my sister, Adrienne (Ade), died from Colon Cancer. I still have nightmares about the 2 ½ years she fought this disease and eventually lost her battle with it.

Ade was also in a wheelchair because she had severe arthritis in both hips. She was scheduled to have her hips replaced when her cancer was diagnosed. She lived in pain from the cancer and her hips for the rest of her short life.

We were alone in her fight. I stopped working to care for her. Ade couldn’t walk, couldn’t stand up or sit long enough to clean and change her ostomy bags and I was told that a visiting nurse wouldn’t do it. I didn’t mind, I’d do anything for my sister. She was not a burden.

I had no one to talk to about her cancer and the fact that she was dying. Our parents died in the 1980’s and Ade was embarrassed to talk about her disease. She believed she was being punished. My Aunt Regina was the only person who called practically everyday. But Regina lived 3,000 miles away in California and she was about 95 when Ade was diagnosed; there wasn’t much she could do but I appreciated her phone calls. Ade refused to speak to anyone even though she was close to Regina.

There was no one else around except for Jerry, the pharmacist up the block. Jerry was the only other person who was there for me during Adrienne’s fight. He was a voice of reason to me. I had no health care for myself so Jerry would give me the blood pressure medication I needed for his cost, maybe $13.00 for 30 pills. My doctor would see me and not charge for my visits. My doctor also had his receptionist come to my house with food for us. I didn’t have a penny to my name. Rent was paid from Ade’s Disability checks. Adrienne, thank G_D, had Medicaid.

Adrienne had to go for chemotherapy twice a week and we were at the hospital for her treatments from 8:00 a.m. all day sometimes until 8:00 p.m. Her cancer was bad.

In the two years she was taking chemo I came to know the other people who also had cancer and also their caregivers. I didn’t know their names but I knew their stories. I knew when someone’s insurance company refused to pay for their treatments any longer: I knew the struggles they had paying for transportation to get to their treatments; I used to cry with the other caregivers because we were all suffering watching our loved ones die. I knew how defeated they all felt, cancer victims and caregivers. There was nothing we could do but go on, not living, just existing.

At chemo I’d watch a caregiver come in with the cancer patient and tell the nurse that the person with cancer had a cold. “Please let it be a cold and not a sign that the cancer is getting worse,” their faces said. “Please let it not be a sign of something else going wrong,” their faces begged. I know my face looked and said the same thing many times.

Ade fought for a little over two years when her oncologist said that there was nothing more he could do for her. The cancer swiftly got worse until she passed seven years ago. Exactly seven years ago.

I can’t think about her without becoming hysterical. I can’t stop talking to her when I’m alone in the house. I know she’s still with me, watching over me and cheering me on. I talk to her all the time. I miss so much. The pain is unbearable.

A few months before Adrienne passed I found a great Colon Cancer support group on Facebook. They helped me, they’re still helping me. I try to help them too but there’s very little I can do but support caregivers and cancer victims. “Keep fighting,” I say to them along with everyone else: “Don’t give up,” I beg them along with everyone else. But there are times all you want to do is give up and stop fighting and everyone has that right.

Well, I’m in a bad mood and very sad now. Everyday I think of Adrienne and her fight. Everyday I cry. Everyday I miss her. But it’s especially bad tonight and will be worse tomorrow. Tomorrow, October 13, 2016, the seven-year anniversary of her death.

I need to thank Jeannie who runs the Colon Cancer support board on Facebook. I need to thank Katherine who has her own cancer fight and who finished her chemo treatment hours before Ade finished hers and would sit and talk to Ade at the hospital. I need to thank all of Ade’s friends especially Barbara and Ian. I need to thank my aunt Regina for being there for us. Aunt Regina passed two years ago, one month before her 101st birthday. Yes, almost 101 years old.

Lastly I have to address my friend Janette, who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer about a month ago and who now has two different cancers to fight. Leave it to Janette to have two different cancer battles. I love you my dear friend and will be down to visit you before you know it. As you requested, you Libby, and I will drink mimosas, cry a little, laugh a lot, eat plenty of food, and maybe travel down to stalk a certain singer you love and get ourselves arrested. Three “old ladies” causing trouble.

Here’s to Janette and Katheryn who are fighting hard and winning.

And here’s to my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, friends, and especially to my sister Adrienne, who have all physically left me because of cancer but their memory will always remain with me.

I miss you, Adrienne.

To see more of my childhood memories go to  S.A.K. Remembers on my blog.

me-ade-hug-hat
I was around 5 here and Adrienne was maybe 2 1/2