Good Ol’ Perseus

August 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

[So this happened 7 years ago tonight…the beginning of my accidental memoir SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CHEMO COCKTAIL…the night Bitch wine saved my life…the night I found a damn spot in my left breast…before I knew it was cancer…the last night in my memory of life before cancer…a sweet and perfect moment with my sweet Mikeyy…the night we watched Perseus’s meteor showers and I learned to count my lucky stars before they hatch. “That time with Mikeyy is etched in my soul as a perfect snapshot of—not my life passing before my eyes, in the dying sense—but more like a haiku, capturing what it was all about.” I think that moment was the diving board into all the lovely 3681641.4 minutes I have been lucky enough to experience since. Each and every one of those precious moments has been one helluva ride. I wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thanking God and my lucky stars this recent golf ball scare was not another cancer trip. I most def don’t ever wanna do that again. Hell no. But, I wouldn’t trade getting to sit here watching Perseus do his thing again from where I’m at now, #lucky7 years later. Anyway, so here’s where that once upon a time began…]

Chapter 2

When the Stars Go Blue
(Cue: Tim McGraw *I don’t know if you know it, but each of my chapters has a soundtrack to it. The songs are from my own chemo cocktail mix that I listened to during cancer, chemo, recovery, and writing Shaken Not Stirred.)

On August 11, 2008 there were meteor showers over Cincinnati. My world was rocked that night, but it had nothing to do with the meteors that my teenage son Mikeyy and I watched in the wee hours of that sleepless in Cincinnati kind of night.

Previous to Perseus’s fireworks display, somewhere in between the lines of August 11 and 12, I’d awakened particularly parched from the end-of-season cocktail party I’d thrown that evening at the Evanshire, aka my home sweet home.

Being somewhat of a newbie tennis freak, I’d played on three tennis teams that summer. My neighborhood team had just won the division championship. My United States Tennis Association (USTA) team had just played in the district championship tournament. We actually won the districts, but.

And the big but (yeah, they say everybody’s got one) was that the win pushed one of our player’s ratings into a higher bracket, which.

And the “rhymes-with-a-witch” was that “the win?” officially disqualified all her matches and our team from the victory, not to mention a road trip to regionals. The trophy didn’t have a chance to slip through our fingers; we never even got to touch it before the ruling came raining down on our parade.

For the cocktail party, I’d grabbed several bottles of a certain Grenache that had caught my eye from across the wine store where I was searching for just the right red and/or white to go with our blues. It had a hot pink label with elegant cursive lettering that read Bitch.

Cancer is a bitch wine

My tennis girlfriends cracked up when I presented the wine. Then we all sighed, and said, “Yeah, it sure was.” We uncorked the wine. It was the best of times and we were making the best of the worst of times. We ate and drank and made merry. I went to bed thirsty.

I knew I would wake up in the middle of the night dying-of-thirst thirsty.

What I didn’t know was that dying of thirst would end up saving my life.

It was five o’clock somewhere—for me it was somewhere in the middle of the night when I woke up from a dream in which I was practically dying of thirst and trying desperately, though unsuccessfully, to quench it.

“Need . . . H . . . 2 . . . Ohhhh,” I sputtered out in a dry whisper like I was some kind of a tumbleweed, searching for an oasis.

“So. [click] Very. [click] Thirsty.”

I couldn’t even peel my tongue off the roof of my mouth.

I’d dealt with similar middle-of-the-night dehydration before, so I had the drill down, practically in my sleep. I tumbled out of bed, crawled across the bedroom floor, slithered down the stairs more like a Slinky than a snake, and somehow found myself standing in front of the kitchen sink. I guzzled a glass of water, diluting the dehydration and dousing the dream.

Then I poured another, and headed to the study to sip on the second one while checking Facebook. And I played a little Scramble, to try and unscramble the fog in my brain.

That’s when I bumped up against my desk—Ouch. I felt—and heard—an unexpected thud.

Something had gone bump in the night— and the bump was on me: my left breast, to be more specific.

My jaw fell to the floor and my eyebrows formed a question mark as I held my breath, brought my hand to my breast, and felt the lump.

I cannot explain the shock and awe I felt. It was like a meteor to my chest, literally. I remember the lump felt like a shooter marble right beneath the “milky way.” I was pretty sure it wasn’t there the day before. My hubby, Dave didn’t mention anything about marbles later that night. I’m sorry if that’s TMI, but I don’t see how we could’ve missed a meteor like that.

I don’t know how long I sat there trying to imagine what in the world the marble could be. I found myself checking and rechecking to see if it was really there. Then I kept checking and rechecking to see if it was still there. Part of me thought I was imagining things. But, no, it was still there. Part of me started imagining things. I felt the meteor again, and then stared out the window.

My fourteen-year-old son Mikeyy was lying out on the driveway, gazing up at the meteor showers in the sky. I let go of my own gravity and let myself get pulled into his world for a little while— snuggling up next to him and watching the sky fall, like it was a movie.

That time with Mikeyy is etched in my soul as a perfect snapshot of—not my life passing before my eyes, in the dying sense—but more like a haiku, capturing what it was all about.

When the meteor show was over, I had a hard time keeping my thoughts from spiraling out of control. A sensible part of me, that I had to dig way down deep for, took all the other parts of me, and put them to bed.

Not wanting to wake Dave, I lay there, deciding to wait out the night. I waited for him to wake. I waited to see if it would just go away. I waited. And prayed.

Since my thoughts like to play connect the dots, this would be where my inner Lady Macbeth spoke up, as “Out, damn’d spot” were the words that came out. This seemed like a reasonable prayer, so I went with it.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to say to Dave when he awoke. The truth is, I generally obsess over just about anything I even think of, processing it at from every angle before it gets “on deck,” on the tip of my tongue. Just to make sure I say what I mean to say, and that I articulate it the way I mean it. Extroverting is not my strong suit. I can do it, but I don’t think I do it very well. And it wears me out. I had nothing by the time he woke up. I was worn out, wound up, and ended up just winging it.

Some words tumbled out into the air and then seemed to settle in a cloud over Dave. He groaned one of those “groanings which cannot be uttered,”9 (like he already knew, too) and fearfully, mechanically, reached over toward the spot.

Dave said that waking up to that morning was like waking up on the worst possible side of the bed ever.

I was still pretty groggy when Joules asked me about a lump she had found on her breast. She’s pretty random and often catches me off guard, but in twenty years of marriage, she had never asked anything quite like this. As soon as I felt the obvious lump, the fog instantly cleared and I was wide awake. My heart and mind started racing, but I tried not to let her see my fear. Outside I was saying, “Hmm, that’s strange,” but inside I was frantically praying, “Please, God, no! Please, God, no! Please, God, no!” Ever since we had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer, I held a secret fear that it might strike Joules one day. This fear only intensified when our friend lost her seven-year battle. Before that, cancer was something other people got. Old people. People with unhealthy lifestyles. People I didn’t know. But our friend was young, healthy (fit, even), a wife and mom, a good and godly woman. And she was one of Joules’s closest friends. Suddenly breast cancer was very real to me, and very scary.

I won’t ever forget that groan. Dave’s middle name, Wayne, means wagon, and I could just feel him bearing the weight that was to come.

He felt the spot; I had not imagined it.

He got out of bed and made a pot of coffee. Dave makes coffee for me every morning. Even brings a cup up to our bedroom and sets it on my nightstand to help me wake up, smell the coffee, rise and shine, seize the day. Yes, I am spoiled. I admit it.


Then he headed to the study with his computer, and began researching what “not bad” things it could be. At first we were hoping it might be a cyst, or hormones. Or even a boil—at which point, I channeled my inner Job. Then he began adding big words that started with fibro– and pap– and ended in –oma, and my brain went all foggy again.

I poured another cup of coffee and called my sister, Jennie, who lives in Charleston, to tell her about the damn spot. She’s my baby sister, but also my best friend. She’s also a little ADHD. I happen to love her rabbit trails, so I figured I could thumb a ride on her distraction.

Jennie later described the rabbit hole she fell in when I told her about the lump.

The day Joules called me and told me about the damn spot she found, I asked her if she thought it might just be a pimple or something weird like that. I tried to be reassuring for her and myself. The thing is, Joules has always been the strong one, and almost like a mother to me, all my life. And to me, nothing bad could or would ever happen to her. But when we hung up the phone, the knot that seemed to have tied in my throat came undone, and my tears broke free. My glass is not always as full as my sister’s, and it sort of felt like it had just tipped over.

Dave made an appointment with my gynecologist for three o’clock that afternoon. I had chosen her because I was not really into doctors at the time. She was a naturopath, but also an MD. Basically, she was into alternative/non-traditional—with leanings toward Eastern—medicine. I liked that she was not a traditional medical evangelist, but had that training as well, in the palette of her doctor’s bag. I did not worry that she would jump to any radical medical conclusions because that was not her holistic style. I felt we were sort of on the same page and that everything could be OK, because she was the most likely doctor to find alternative explanations for the spot, and alternative ways of spot removal.

Meanwhile, Dave told me I should go ahead and go to a tennis clinic I’d already signed up and paid for, to try to keep my mind off that damn spot until three.


—So that’s the end of the chapter, but obvs… there’s more chapters, and way more to the story besides just me standing there waiting for the tennis ball to cross the net so I can CRUSH it! *Spoiler alert: I CRUSH IT! But if you feel like turning the page to see for yourself, SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CHEMO COCKTAIL is avail on Amazon and Kindle. Click HERE. The Kindle version is avail for $2.99 with the purchase of the paperback, which is $9.99. On August 20, in commemoration of the day I heard the C-word, the Kindle version will be FREE.

And stay tuned…cuz while I’m sitting here on the sidelines, recovering from my recent surgery…I’m wrapping up recording the audio book version of #shakennotstirred.

P.S. Here’s the iTunes Link to the theme song to my book, the “Cancer is a Bitch” Song by the Kicked-in Fence aka my Redheads<3 To download the Cancer is a Bitch song, click HERE. It’s only 99 cents.


Since it’s high time for an update, not to mention, 5 0’clock somewhere, might as well cut to the chaser and spill the good beans: Got the pathology report yesterday and I pretty much got an A+. My gynecological oncologist hit the proverbial hole in one with #OperationOutDamnGolfBall last Monday. Golf ball extracted dissected sliced diced pulverized and shanked. No evidence of disease aka NED, thank God, thank Dr. Pulaski, and #fuckcancer.

Also, THANK YOU, everybody for all the love and prayers and good vibes and support and kind words. I always say this, but it for real legit seriously means the world to me. I am grateful for each and every one of you and super grateful to be in your thoughts.

The last update I posted was after the victory lap I took around the hallways after I had just passed the being able to pee before I was allowed to bust out of the hospital test. Here it is again, in case you missed it!

I’m reporting live from my home sweet home at the LoveShack now. It’s been a rough week, but here I am! Tuesday was a bit of a bumpy ride, trying to get ahead of the pain after the ride home and the 3 flights of stairs up to our condo. Actually, the first bump was right after that “Chariots of Fire meets Rocky meets Titanic” video, when I tried to get dressed to go home. With all of the swelling from the surgery on top of all the bloating I already had been dealing with, and then water weight from the IV fluids to boot…I couldn’t get my pants on. Had to borrow Dave’s belt and pull my shirt down as far as possible cuz the last thing I needed was to get thrown in jail for flashing everybody and their brother on my way home from the hospital.

Most of this hard week has thankfully not been about dealing with pain, but managing discomfort aka desperately trying to find some kind of a, any kind of a comfortable position aka enduring an uncomfortable position as long as possible before switching out for a new one. Luckily, my sweet M&M got me some fun “parting with a golf ball is such sweet sorrow” gifts to help me keep my head up during my recovery;)

#postcardfromsurgery #xoxo

A video posted by Joules Evans (@joulesevans) on

Also, per doctor’s RX, I’ve been trying to get back on the treadmill and literally walk it off. She said I’ll heal and bounce back way faster, the quicker I get back at it. So #boing. I’m back. At it. I’ve worked up to a mile, and have walked a mile 4 days in a row. My #comeback is afoot. I figure if I’m gonna be uncomfortable anyway, I might as well multi-task and take a walk, soak in some fresh air and a little sunshine on my shoulders, walk off the discomfort, walk if I can’t run to get my fitness back again, walk off the swelling and water weight in hopes of one day hopefully SOON fitting in my own clothes again, instead of the hubcap’s Superman boxers I’ve been sporting around.


Sorry I haven’t updated sooner. Besides not being able to sit still or comfy enough to compose an update, I was waiting for the path report and then I wanted to let my Redheads know the happy news before I posted anything.

Here’s a pic of them serenading me and praying for me before my surgery. (We facetimed my sweet Amanda in, since she lives in Denver.) Always and forever: my 3 reasons.


And here’s a video of the song they sang.

I lava them.

Lastly, besides the good news part of this post-surgery report, the other good stuff enquiring minds have been chomping at the bit to know what crazy shit I said while under. Unfortunately, nobody caught it on video because it hit me so freaking quick. Which doesn’t surprise me, cuz I had eaten pretty raw the week before, was on a liquid fast the day before, and hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for 13 hours. On top of already being a lightweight champion of the world ever since chemo. Anyway. so apparently, approximately 3 minutes after they gave me the happy juice in my IV, it hit so hard and fast it freaked them all out. Apparently, one minute the nurse was giving me the happy juice and the next minute I was saying this stuff is nice and the next minute I was trying to get all my peeps and docs and nurses and techs and everybody in the hospital to sign a petition for “marital marijuana” cuz this stuff is nice and all, but “marital marijuana” doesn’t have all the side effects this stuff has. So apparently, I’m for #maritalmarijuana. I mean, I knew I was for #medicinalmarijuana, and especially for cancer patients, but whoa the things you learn about yourself under the influence of the happy juice!

[Update: I’m home from the hospital. Doing OK. Managing discomfort rather than pain yesterday and today. Today is better than yesterday. Yesterday was WAY BETTER than the day before that. But thankfully that day is in the rear view mirror and I got the pedal to the metal. Anyway, the scoop is: Every day I get a little bit closer to feeling fine *nods to Sheryl Crowe _/\_. We are still waiting on the path report for a proper post-surgery report. We expect it will be a good report and will post STAT when we get the good news. Meanwhile, here was my pre-surgery pep talk to myself, with a little help from my writing/creativity/bigmagic sensei Elizabeth Gilbert. She threw down THIS SUPER AWESOME POST<<CLICK IT,  on her FB on Friday, and I thought about it all weekend, while I was getting my shit together and composing myself and my thoughts for my pre surgery pep talk to myself. The coolest thing about the process of dialoguing with one of your favorite writers like that, is that it pretty much feels like you are hanging out with them, not just chewing the fat, but sucking the freaking marrow, talking about all the important things. That’s my idea of damn good surgery prep, the kind that’s gonna pump. you. up! Which is exactly what hap’d…]

Monday, August 3 Noon: Believe it or not, I’ve had a pretty awesome weekend getting ready for my surgery today. ‪#‎OperationOutDamnGolfBall‬ ‪#‎FORE‬ (Which is at 1:30pm in case you didn’t get the memo and want to pray my surgical oncologist has a good “golf day” taking out the cyst and the whole she-bang.) Anyway, besides the pre-op testing I did at the hospital on Wednesday, here’s some of the other important prepping I’ve been doing before my surgery and hitting the sidelines: 1) Got ‪#‎fightingcolors‬ ‪#‎flyingcolors‬ haircuts with my little warrior sister Maya the Magnificent. 2) Finished Deepak Chopra‘s & Oprah’s 21 meditation day adventure. 3) Run as much as possible. ‪#‎runhappy‬ ‪#‎runfree‬ ‪#‎runwhileyoucan‬ 4) Finish moving in as much as possible. Unpack books. ‪#‎konmariallthethings‬ 5) Take my mom to the dentist. 6) Family night out at Red’s game with Hubcap’s company. 7) Help my sweet Mateo move. 8) Groceries. 9) Laundry. 10) Have ‪#‎allthefun‬ I can squeeze in. Like: sneak off to Indy to go see Liz Gilbert speak/go see Trainwreck, eat popcorn with real butter, and lmfao/watch the TIG doc with the fam. 11) Get prayed over at church. 12) And THIS…


Click HERE to read Liz’s super awesome post.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about THIS post Liz Gilbert threw down Friday. In my pre-surgical procedures I’d been casting a vision for the down-time of my 6-8 week recovery (Finish selection and begin editing ‪#‎Route66‬pix for photo exhibit. Record audio book version of Shaken Not Stirred . . . a Chemo Cocktail and rerelease hard copy with 7 year cancerversary update and fist chapter of next book. Walk my butt off, since I won’t be allowed to run. My Route 66 Marathon training must go on.) But THIS post made me want to cast out a little further. When I got diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago on august 20th, I had a hard time seeing myself in future tense. (The fact that I have almost made it to my ‪#‎lucky7‬ year cancerversary BLOWS MY MIND!) Part of this was good for me, though, cuz I got pretty damn good at being present in the now. But this weekend while I’ve been sucking the marrow out of life, the present, and all the things, I also have been sipping ok slurping on THIS delicious post.

So I thought I’d ante up with my own thoughts about where I wanna be 5 years from now…

-12 years cancer free
-audio book version of ‪#‎shakennotstirred‬
-re-release #shakennotstirred 7th cancerversary edition with update and first chapter of Route 66 Bucket List Road Trip book
-2 more books published (#Route66 Bucket List Road Trip and Homeschool Memoir)
-Route 66 photo exhibit
-enter photo contest
-winter in a warmer climate
-figure out how to do what I do, doing what i love, to pay my way around the world
-get TSA priority boarding
-fly first class
-Write writing workshop based on Alice in Wonderland
-Take yoga teacher training or life coaching
-learn to make an origami crane. make 1000
-learn to play my uke
-do a Triathalon
-publish a book of my poetry
-take a selfie with Jesus in Rio
-spend cervantes bday in Spain, hike the buen camino
-road tripping the country with my friend Isis to photograph 800 breast cancer survivors for the Grace project
-and because go bold or go home, and to tag onto Liz Gilbert’s list, I’d like to write a tv show with her.

Well, that’s a little where I wanna be 5 years from now. Especially right smack dab middle of that yummy ellipsis…


What about you? Anybody else wanna play? Where do you wanna be 5 years from now? ‪#‎castaway #comesailawaywithme‬

[Cross-posting this update from my FB status, which is a little health update.]

Was getting ready to post an update about a recent “interruption” to my health this fine lazy Sunday mornin’ and I caught this update from my friend Suleika Jaouad and her ridiculous adorbs bff Oscar in re: her own recent “interruption”. Thought it was pretty spot on with my own circs, minus the lyme disease and add a golf ball.

So here’s the scoop on my interruption aka #damngolfball:

Recently I had routine scans on an ovarian cyst my gynecological oncologist has been keeping tabs on, with the intention of removing it come winter. It seems that since my last scans in March, the cyst has doubled in size (along with the left ovary it’s attached to, and my uterus–sorry if that’s TMI…but once I had a scan that said my uterus was “unremarkable”…and I just wanted to set the record straight once and for all;). Anyway, so basically the cyst has an inflated ego, having gone from nickel to a golf ball size. I’d like to stress that it still looks to be just a cyst. Hulking out and throwing a fit. Which means the ball is literally in my court. Which means it’s #myturn.

So here’s the game plan:

Tomorrow (Aug. 3 at 1:30pm) we are saying #FORE to that damn golf ball. I’m having a hysterectomy/oopherectomy/thewholeshebangectomy. Just taking care of ALL the biz. I don’t feel like keep dealing with these potential ‪#‎fuckcancer‬scares. (In a way, it’s going along with my decluttering phase in our recent downsizing from the full quiver of the Evanshire to our empty nest aka The Love Shack. I’ve been working through a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to help us streamline from a quarter of century of marriage, homeschooling for 16 years, and from 3500 sq. ft. to 1000. One of the principles in fitting into this new best nest is that we can only keep the things that bring us the greatest joy. This golf ball is NOT bringing the joy. And I don’t require the services of my ovaries and uterus any further. So they must go, along with so many good books that we just took to Half Price the other day. Except I got $56 for the books, which I traded for some Vinyl records. I will not be trading in, upgrading, or replacing the golf ball or any of the other parts. ‪#‎gonegirl‬)

My oncologist feels pretty good about things not being cancer, so that’s the story I’m sticking with, too. Of course she will biopsy everything and make sure everything’s groovy, but there’s no reason to think it’s going to be anything but a damn golf ball of a cyst. I’m good with the game plan. Not looking forward to tomorrow. #shakennotstirred a little, not gonna lie. Not looking forward to being benched from running, which is my chief stress management technique. But it will be good to get that damn golf ball the hell outta me, which will literally eliminate some stress. So hopefully it all evens out.

The “interruption” has seriously been the hardest part for me to swallow. I had planned on having this done in January, when I didn’t mind being sidelined from running for 6-8 weeks. I. LOVE. Summer. Even running in the heat. Winter is my discontent. Running in the Brrr… freezing cold is NOT. my. fave. So I’d already wrapped my brain around the surgery. Just not STAT.

I have what WAS a very full to bursting upcoming schedule:

  • training for a marathon in November #monkeywrench
  • a trip to Denver to see my sweet Amanda NEXT FRIDAY:(
  • my 7 year cancerversary celebration/Dave’s & my 50th bday Hawaii 5-0 holiday that was supposed to be at the end of August
  • an upcoming Grace project road trip in September that I am cleared to go on even if I won’t quite be 100% YET

I threw a pretty big damn pity party for myself about it all the weekend the golf ball threw down the gauntlet. But now we have a good game plan and I’m getting ready and getting set. Getting both the proverbial and literal houses in order. Got prayed over at church last night. Fasting (liquids–Doc’s orders) today. Got flying colors in my hair. And gonna ‪#‎runhappy‬ ‪#‎runfree‬ ‪#‎runwhileican #chasethesunset one more time tonight before I carpe the diem out of the sidelines tomorrow. Surgical scrub after. Coffee before midnight (to stave off a headache on top of everything else tomorrow.) Chased by a glass of wine to keep balance in the force.

Please pray my veins work tomorrow. They weren’t cooperative at the pre-op testing last Wednesday. My right arm and hand are both a little beat up from it all, so I have a little anxiety about the nurse getting stuck trying to stick me again. Also obvi, pray it is just a cyst.

A lot of peeps have asked if there’s anything they can do. I don’t exactly know yet. But I do know that as soon as I am up and at ’em, I’ll be good to go to WALK not run, but advance token to the nearest marathon—which I’ve already registered for this coming November. #themarathontrainingmustgoon… So I’ll be filling up my dance card with walking partners, if you are local and fancy a walk with me. Also, since the Love Shack is on the 3rd floor, I wouldn’t mind the encouragement to get down the stairs to the mailbox, if you wanna drop a postcard or a snail in the mail. The addy is P.O. Box 882, West Chester, OH 45071.

Thank you, all you crazy beautiful peeps for basically being LOVE, and for all the kind words and texts and messages and phone calls. I know I’m pretty much the luckiest girl and feel like the gratitude I feel for y’all is probs one of the coolest superpowers I got in the arsenal. ‪#‎thisgirlisonfire‬ So thank you. _/\_

I’ll update here/FB/Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr ASAP.

Cheers and love and thanks again,


See Her Again

July 7, 2015 — 4 Comments

It was a long day, the day I sat with my girl Char’s son David during her breast amputation from her war with cancer. I know the pink, fluffy, more euphemistic term is mastectomy but when your friends keep dying from this bitch of a disease, or if you’re like me, flat as a walking billboard for breast cancer…well, euphemisms just don’t…”cut it”.

It is what it is, and I just feel like calling it like I see it when I look in the mirror and honor my own battle scars. Or when I try to buy a bathing suit. I mean, I’m a glass half full kinda girl, but even all my optimism isn’t gonna fill two empty cups, if ya know what I mean;) But I digress. It’s been a long day, trying to get myself to sit down and write this post about the celebration of life services for my friend Char, which will be on Saturday, July 11, from 2pm-3ish, at Cincinnati Vineyard’s chapel.

I was introduced to Char at my old church, and entered her story at that holy inciting moment right after her diagnosis, right before the amputation. This is how I meet more people than you can imagine. Unless you’ve had breast cancer too. Which I hope you haven’t and never will. #iamthe1in8 #youbeoneoftheother7

Anyway, Char and I were fast friends. #chemoisthickerthanwaterandblood So obvi, I connected her to the rest of our “cancer club” at church aka The Fellowship of the Bread, Wine, and Chemo, and to The Pink Ribbon Girls, the local breast cancer support group whose mission/motto is: No one travels this road alone, and to my oncologist, and to the Grace project, a  photographic project dealing with body image after breast cancer, which was pretty much ended up being Char’s last word to cancer.

Her battle against breast cancer was a long damn day. But it was also too damn short.

I miss her.


She loved me fierce and I will miss her something fierce. I imagine my girl Char tackled Jesus with a big fat sloppy wet kiss just like this, cuz O how she loves. She is the true BIG C; cancer ‘aint got nothing on my girl CHAR! But it sure makes my shoes feel so freaking heavy on my soggy feet.

I was on my way to visit her in the hospital when her daughter Ashley called me from Char’s side. The doctors had just told her that Char’s body was shutting down and the ventilator was the only thing keeping her here. Char was in unbearable, unspeakable pain. She was ready to go home, and definitely deserved the rest she had fought so hard to win.


Talk about “Just do it.” Char did. She kept the faith. She finished the fight. AND SHE WON NOT LOST. She is finished with cancer. #peaceout Char. I’m doing a victory dance for ya, sister…but I’m not gonna lie, there are tears.

Like I said, I was on my way to the hospital when Ashely called me. I was on my way out of town, to go run an all-night-long 10-hour endurance run, when when Char was admitted to the hospital a few days before, with what they thought was probs pneumonia cuz she had just done the #hungerwalk in Cincinnati a few days before. Only 3 days after chemo. And in the rain. I didn’t go visit her before the race, on my way out of town, because I was on an antibiotic and I was afraid to bring my germs with me. The hubcap went in my stead, and told her I was off to run a race, that I needed her to be on the job praying for me while she was resting in that chemo, and that I’d come visit her as soon as I got back. I also asked him rub her adorbs bald head for me, for good luck, which he did. And he and a friend from our “cancer club” prayed over her. On race day, another friend of ours, from The Pink Ribbon Girls, also checked in with her for me (Thank you, Kim) and reiterated my “charge” to Char, and also petted her sweet head for me.


This selfie was taken at Char‘s Grace project photo shoot a few weeks before Char’s passing. Char’s shoot was in the midst of a weekend of events that I was producing so I couldn’t be at Char’s shoot…which freaking split me in two…but Char knew that and so she asked for one more pic…of everybody rubbing her cute bald head for me since i couldn’t be there. #thatsamore

I’d written Char’s name by my heart on my race shirt, and was so freaking excited to show her that, and my medal, and to give her the pink sock monkey I’d run with in a backpack on my back, to give to her. When I left the house that morning to come visit her, all anybody knew was that they were going to take her out of the coma. So I packed a bottle of my famous “Cancer is a” Bitch wine to come break bread with her in #fuckcancer style. And of course my medal to show off! It had been a long day, without my friend. And I was so. looking. forward. to telling her all about it when I saw her again.

I came. I saw my friend Char take her last breath. I was conquered.

This is the last I saw of Char. One week before she passed. This pic our “cancer club” brother Arch Cunningham posted from the Hunger Walk just a week before Char passed. This is the Char I knew and loved. The Char who loved me FIERCE.


This was my crazy cancer ass kicking sister Char Scott.

This was her doing the #HungerWalk in #Cincy last week (Memorial Day).

This was 3 daze after chemo, which as everybody who has been there done that knows…is NOT one of the good daze.

This was one week before she was to shed that gorgeous shell, kicking cancer’s ass once and for all.

This was/is/will always will be her victory lap and this her victory cry that will always make me smile.

Even if today it makes me cry a little cuz I will miss her as fiercely as she loved me.

This was my friend who loved me fierce,

out-loud, proud

like somebody who would walk/run/crawl 5K

in the rain

3 daze after chemo

to fight hunger in her world.

This was my friend Char.

She did love.

And she did it fierce and with reckless abandon.

And that is how I will remember her.

And this is how Char wanted to be remembered. Shortly before her passing, Char was so super freaking excited to participate in The Grace Project. Grace is a series of portraits of women who have battled breast cancer and suffered amputation in the waging of that brutal war. It’s a beautiful, powerful exhibit dealing with body image after breast cancer. Grace photographer Isis Charise finds inspiration for the project in Greek Sculpture #keepcalmandlovegreece so she frames the women in the context of Greek goddesses. Isis is in process of photographing 800 women across the country. The eventual Grace exhibit will demonstrate a day in the life of breast cancer. 800 women are diagnosed every day in our country. This has to stop. This is how Char wanted to be remembered. Beautiful. Empowered. Having kicked cancer’s ass. It was her last word.


Immortal. The lovely Char‘s stunning gorgeous IMMORTAL Grace project portrait, taken by Grace photographer Isis Charise. Char was so. freaking. excited! and proud out loud to do her photo shoot, to become a Grace goddess, and especially, to be part of something so beautiful and meaningful and superpowerful for good. Grace is a series of portraits of women kicking cancer in the balls, and #shaken up the conversation on what is beauty? by empowering women who have suffered breast cancer and #amputation #MastectomyisaEuphemism of the parts society erroneously and cruelly deems as the critical lady parts…to battle through that shit as well, and embrace their body image and their own undeniable breathtaking beauty. #transcendencemuch? (Cuz what woman in America DOESN”T deal with body image issues?) This beautiful portrait of beautiful Char, taken on April 11, THE DAY AFTER CHEMO and 6 weeks before she shed that gorgeous shell, will hang with 800 others in an eventual complete exhibit…a beautiful breathtaking demonstration of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF BREAST CANCER IN AMERICA. (Yep, that’s what those 1/8 numbers mean. And that’s why we have to find a cure ALL THE CURES for cancer ALL THE CANCERS. #fuckcancer)


So I’ve never done this before, but sometimes I get a note from somebody who’s reading SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CHEMO COCKTAIL, and today I got one that just started my day off with the biggest and best kinda bang like kaPOW! and I thought I’d share…

“I’m reading the page in your book with the Boob Lube and had to stop to tell you how hella-fabulous it is. I mean, seriously…a dashed line for me to dog ear the page? You, my friend, are a literary genius. Yep. Right up there with ole Bill S. himself.” ~Kim.

First of all, thank you, Kim. For this kind note, your kind words…but also, let me not neglect to say, for your service. _/\_ YOU. so. very. much. made. my. day. today. Before my day had even started! Your note was the first thing I read this morning. Before I’d even had a sip of my coffee. But boy did it make my coffee taste like the best. cup. ever!

I remember cracking myself up about that dashed line. I had to ask my youngest son, Mikeyy, to help me put it in the book since I am so. very. NOT. tech savvy. Also I’m basically not good with straight lines (even dashed ones) (even when I haven’t been “cheers”ing;).

Anyway, most of the notes I get about SHAKEN are from peeps downing their own damn chemo cocktails…and they all humble me down to the ground, which I figure is a pretty damn good praying position, so that’s how I usually roll with it. It means more than words, to be able to walk with someone through their own journey, as they walk through mine, via SHAKEN.

And this note I received this morning…from a badass military veteran/breast cancer warrior sister/friend of mine reading my book and sharing my joy over that dashed line…walking the line with me, if you will…also makes me hit the dirt, heavily laden with gratitude. So I thought I’d lighten the load a little and share;)

And while I’m in this uber fab/fun sharing mood, I thought, why not also share this link about Boob Lube, which I remember making me LMFAO a little when I found out about it when I was writing SHAKEN. I thought/think it was SUCH a superpower freaking clever product to encourage breast health awareness. Still do.

And while we’re on the topic of breast health awareness…this would be a mighty fine time to go check yourself. In fact, I’ll end this post now so you can go do that.

Paper Peonies and Dandelions

February 25, 2015 — 1 Comment

Dear V,

One. Year. Ago…

V's Wave

It’s true time flies.
(I threw a clock out the window once
and proved it.)
But Salvador Dali had the right idea
With those weeping clocks…
On days like today
I don’t believe time heals.
And why should it?
Would I ever want to
“Get over”

You left a beauty mark on my soul.
Your mantra is etched in me
The ink is dry
Except for teardrops…
Which keeps dotting the i’s
In Live Sincerely.


I miss you.

Meanwhile here I am
Spending time
This day
In the Big Apple.
Isn’t it ironic?
Maybe a little too ironic
—or maybe it’s poetry?
Because this is where we met
On that serendipitous day in October
when I saw you standing
(beside yourself)
Next to
Your breathtaking SCAR Portrait
Hanging in Soho
At the very first SCAR Project Exhibit
In 2010.

V exhibit

[Surviving Cancer.] [Absolute Reality.]
You and me both.
And both of us from Cincinnati.
Funny how
That’s how we met.

That time when time
Put the pedal to the metal
While we were working our asses off
on The S.C.A.R. Cincy Exhibit—
When the absolute fucking reality of surviving cancer
Was thrown in our faces
In the form of a headache you had
that wouldn’t clock out…
2 weeks before opening night.


because you said “the show must go on.”
Especially now.
There was no try
Just do
We did it for you.


It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life
But not as hard as saying goodbye
365 days ago
…and flew away with time…

I miss you.

This V-shaped hole is most def the hardest thing.
I hear the echo of your voice
That I can’t remember anymore,
“The show must go on.”
And I still sometimes wonder how?

I was wondering that the other day while I was driving here.
I saw a flock of birds
in a V-formation:
a Peace sign in the Sky.


Every time I see one I think of you.
And every day
For me (and for V) I am…

Living sincerely,