Gringas & Guacamole
By Gail Nott
THE BIG “C”
I have just survived my second bout with cancer. After going through the usual range of emotions—fear, anger, rage and shame—I finally realized there are some positive aspects to these experiences.
Thirty is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart. My first surgery insured that I would never have to save money for a kid’s college education or a drug rehab facility, they would never move back home and any dents in the car, I got to make them. I wouldn’t have to worry about a stroke from birth control pills; OK, partying too hard and too many cigarettes might do me in.
It moved like a freckle, looked like a freckle but it was a malignant melanoma. I agreed to have lymph nodes removed from my groin to insure the cancer hadn’t spread. Let’s look on the bright side; I can be the entertainment at your party. We can play Connect a Scar!
Seriously addicted to the female ritual of shaving my legs, now it goes much faster; I have less territory to cover. Ladies, we know how expensive new bathing suits are. If I can find the correct yellow body paint to match the Tweetie Bird band-aids, I can paint on the bottom of my bikini. The new scars make it easy to stay within the lines.
My friend, Lee Ann, a Reiki practitioner, kept telling me to get in touch with my body. Mine isn’t all that communicative but I heard from it the other day after I said, “Body, how would you like to go play tennis tomorrow?” Clear as a bell my body said, “Listen bitch…do it and die.” It’s been two months since the surgery and I decided to try tennis again; no, I didn’t ask my body. Another perk, if you drum up enough sympathy, you can play lousy and your partner forgives you.
The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really close friends. Mine weren’t even acquaintances. Massive doses of antibiotics resulted in diverticulitis and then I met the infamous E Coli. Losing 10% of my body weight in seven days; well, it is a lot faster than Weight Watchers. Friends insisted they wanted to bring me healthy foods. Why would I want to eat chicken soup when my restrictive diet kept me on such treats as fruit sorbet, tapioca, and Jello?
You’re right, it’s obvious that I have struggled to find anything positive about the last two months. What I know for a fact is that “stuff just happens.”
(Ed. Note: Sadly, the cancer finally killed Gail—but those of us who knew and admired her will always remember that the last thing that went was her marvelous sense of humor. May we all have Gail’s courage when our own ticket is eventually punched.)
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