Posts from January, 2012

Ann’s Diary: You Think Boobs Mean Beauty? Think Again.

So don’t stop believing, sisters–

Ann Murray Paige – FIT House Member of the Month! from Ara Arbabzadeh on Vimeo.

Posted January 26th, 2012 by
Ann's Diary: You Think Boobs Mean Beauty?  Think Again.
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Ann’s Diary: On The Take

Someone passed my blog about how Fiji Water is mysteriously curing me of my these-veins-won’t-work problem whenever I need to have a blood draw to the folks at Fiji Water. That’s the blog where I tell how I drank some Fiji Water before a blood draw a few weeks ago and magically, what usually takes three or four pokes to get into my rolly-polly-ollie veins took ONE time. Since it sounds so pretty to me I’ll repeat and italicize that: one time.

I thought it was a fluke but I still had some Fiji Water left so I took it the next day for my infusion to fight off my breast cancer and SURE ENOUGH the nurse, ready to poke me half a dozen times, almost fell off her stool when she got into my arm on the first try. Another fluke? Possibly…

Then yesterday, having a PETSCAN–because cancer is so much fun!-the tech poked my arm, got into my vein, looked at me and said, “Bullseye!”

I wanna tell you I almost hugged him–because having someone poke you like a pin cushion and dig around for your freaking vein is so very unpleasant I can barely write it. As I sat in the radio-active-tracer-lounge waiting for the stuff he injected to pump through my body, I got right on Twitter and tweeted a photo of my arm and my almost-empty bottle of Fiji Water and I told the people at Fiji how much I love them. Of course, they likely think I’m crackers, since they responded, “we’ve heard a lot of health stories about our water but this is a new one on us.”

So anyway, back to last week, when someone forwarded my blog Fiji Magic to someone at Fiji, she did it without me knowing. Not that I wouldn’t have said “go ahead” if she asked me first, but she did it on her own, because the first line of the blog says “don’t tell the people at Fiji I’m writing this or people will think I’m on the take…..” And sure enough, someone at Fiji emailed me that evening to ask if the company could send me some free water.

And you know what I said? H-E-L-L Y-A.

I, not one to get paid much for what I do, nor have I ever been approached by any business who wants to support my effort of getting my book into cancer centers across the country–(and believe me I’ve tried. Like at that blogging forum in SF a few weeks back, I threw my book into the hands of someone from the Gates Foundation–awkward–and ZERO response from them)–and I, who hate to appear needy, have to tell myself, “Whatever. Someone else will figure out that my cause is important.” Because I ain’t a beggar. My book sold exactly 10 copies this month. I’ve made a whole 32 dollars. Fortune 500 here I come.

But this stuff, this Fiji Water, and I have no idea why, has now saved my arm exactly 9 track marks in 2 weeks. If you have my same problem you know that’s A LOT A PAIN I avoided. And I have more ahead as I battle the breast cancer beast. So while I may not be able to be bought, I can absolutely be showered. And if Fiji wants to dowse me with its magic water and help me deal with this ridiculously awful symptom of this outrageously terminal disease I’m fighting, I say HAVE AT IT, I’M ALL YOURS.

Though I’m not being paid by Fiji to say any of this, I now call their product LIQUID GOLD. Because all of us facing any illness that involves getting poked and prodded deserve a freaking BREAK. And if ponying up 6 dollars for a bottle of H2O gets us out of the phlebotomist’s rooms any quicker I’ll pay that bill all day long.

I now have 48 days of good blood draws stacked between the salsa and the oatmeal in my pantry: I think that means I’m “on the take.” And if that’s the case…

I’ll be on the take for as long as Fiji Water will take me.

Posted January 26th, 2012 by
Ann's Diary: On The Take
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Setting The Prisoner Free

I recently wrote a blog that inadvertently hurt somebody’s feelings. Or better said, I referred to something that made this person feel bad about themselves.  It happened a while ago and I am just now considering it all–my blogging, that reaction and the ups and downs of writing my life.

The sad thing about a life is that at some point, someone gets offended–at least it happens that way in my life.  And almost always afterwards I learn something very important that makes my life more evolved and better understood to myself. I have never intentionally, at least not since I passed my college entrance exam, ever made someone purposely angry– but I have done it nonetheless.

Take the time a friend was sick and wanted me to come over to check in.  She must have said or done something to send me the drift that I should stop by, but I didn’t pick up on it and I didn’t come by.  The next time I saw her she was pretty angry with me and I apologized–I even brought flowers.  But I learned something very important about myself and about her and it’s been critical to me in my relationship with her ever since.  I learned that I need to never give the impression that I understand subliminal messages. I need people to tell me what they need up front and not expect that I’ll “just know.”  I used to “just know”, in fact I think I was some kind of a pro, knowing just what someone else was feeling and attempting to help them through it–before they even knew what the problem was themselves.

In the past, the folks in my life became dependent on my “knowing just what they needed” and I exhausted myself showing up for everyone in need.  But those days are over and I say good riddance to them. And thanks to this friend and our conflict, I learned absolutely that I no more want to be a person who automatically takes on other’s burdens.  In the past my choice to do so was my choice alone:  I needed to stop myself from doing that. And I finally did it.

My friend got over it.  She now knows me a little better now, too—knows what I can and can’t be.  And so do I.  This pal–incidentally a better pal now than ever before–inadvertently helped me learn this very important lesson about myself.  And I am forever grateful to her for that.

That’s what usually happens with me:  through trauma and drama come enlightenment and evolution.  It’s a hard price to pay but I pay it none-the-less.

I’m not referring to blame here.  I’m not saying “and so-and-so learned never to cross me again.”  Blame has nothing to do with this.  It’s about me learning, growing, evolving–understanding my life and my self and how it all works—the ups, the downs, the highs and the lows.  I never blame anybody.  I learn from them.

So for me, it is never about the moment of pain that any one, least of all anyone in my life including me–should stay stuck in.  It’s about the learning and the growth. And if you are someone who may have inadvertently hurt me–like I did my friend–I hope you move on.  I hope you don’t blame yourself, or blame me, or blame blame for what happened.  Everyone is doing their best in this lifetime.  That I know for certain.

We can’t change other people, as I always tell my kids–we can only change our reaction to them.  It’s harder when that person turns out to be us.  But we have to learn to forgive ourselves–after all, who’s purposely manipulating and plotting and planning to wreak havoc on another?  Unless it’s a bad soap opera or an episode of “Desperate Housewives” who in the world is trying to mess up?

Life is short–and take it from someone who knows all too well just what that saying really means.  We all deserve a break.  We are all doing our best.  And our best IS good enough.  If it isn’t, we’re in the wrong company.

As the anonymous saying goes, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free and realize the prisoner is yourself.”

I say it’s time to set ourselves free.

Posted January 25th, 2012 by
Ann's Diary:  Setting The Prisoner Free
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Triangles

I hate triangles.

I don’t mean the hypotenuse-geometry-gay-pride-symbol ones. I don’t mean the cute ones that swim under the sea with Sponge Bob and his cronies. I don’t mean the bright blocks kids sort when they haven’t yet learned to walk. I’m not even talking about the love ones, where someone slips out under the cover of darkness and slips under the covers in someone else’s bedroom.

I’m talking about the friendship triangles.

I mean the ones where three people like each other and really get along. But at some point, two gravitate toward each other and the other one, odd man “out”, feels–to repeat the word–left “out”.

It happens to everyone–at least I assume it does. Since I don’t know everyone, I have to guess here. I also guess that it’s a human condition to find someone to cling to, someone you like above every one else. The term best friend is more common than best friends with an S. I don’t see the term BFFS as much as I see BFF all over the girly clothes they’re selling to my 3rd grader. There it is–etched on a cotton/poly blend in pink, red and electric green, sized small, medium, large and huge–along with the dangerous undercurrent message that says “and you can only have ONE.”

Which is why–whenever my kids try to tell me their ‘best friend is…’ blah blah blah–I’m always the first one to say “HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. I already know your best friend.”

It happened just the other night. One of my children answered, “You do?” And I said, “I sure do. They’re in the bathroom right now.” And my child went quickly into the bathroom thinking someone–I know not whom–was in there, and that some kind of a surprise play date was under way.

And when my child rounded the corner into the empty water closet, and then went further into the sit-down section of the room and found still no one there, my child turned around to see me standing there, too. “There,” I said, with my arm raised and finger pointing at the young reflection in the mirror. “There’s your best friend, my dear. It’s YOU.”

This could seem to you anywhere from radical to ridiculous, or maybe you don’t care–which is fair enough. Not everyone has to care. But in my life, the term “best friend” was always associated not with the person I chose but with all the ones I didn’t. If I chose Susie over Maria, for example, Maria’s feelings got hurt. (And I can actually attest to that, as two winters ago I got the chance to apologize to “Maria” for really and truly choosing “Susie” over her back in high school. Of course 30 years and lots of maturity had erased the whole problem now. But the memory lingered–and Maria did feel that pain back then.)

It happens to all people from kids to adults–again, I’m guessing since I don’t know all people. But from what I’ve lived I know that most folks become 8 years old again when not invited, chosen, or otherwise included along with the others. And maybe it’s girls more than boys? Or the sensitive over the blasse? Either way, as I remind my children when they come home from school, forlorn due to some so-and-so excluding or ignoring them, I say, “sounds like you need your best friend.” And if they haven’t run screaming from the room saying “not the mirror agaaaaaaaain!” I march them into the bathroom and have them look at the reflection waiting there. “You see that kid? That’s your answer. That kid will see you through.”

What I don’t tell my kids–at least not yet, they’re too young, but I will eventually–is that it won’t be long before the friends who exclude–unless down the line they turn out both to be gay and fall madly love, which would be cool–will find others to drift off to. That’s kind of how life is, it’s how people evolve. Correct me if I’m wrong but usually people don’t evolve in lock step with their elementary school friends. Of course there are times when kids are meant to be best-est buddies for the rest of their lives–and God bless them. That then brings me to another lesson I teach my kids when–once again gnashing their teeth that they weren’t included, and that the triangle they thought they were in is really, it turns out, a line–from friend A to friend B–

you can’t control other people. You can only control yourself.”

And since I’m already on the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood Trolley here, let me throw this in, too:

Whether someone likes you, doesn’t like you, includes you, excludes you, invites you, ignores you, and otherwise plays it strange and unfriendly–there is NOTHING that changes one simple fact: YOU ARE YOU. And you are the GREATEST. Nobody, nothing, nada changes that.”

And now I have a favor to ask you, all you who are reading this:

If I’m not around to remind my children of all these things; if by some God-forsaken reason the metastatic breast cancer beating its way through my immune system actually wins one of these days, and I don’t get to remind my kids over and over of all these important, love-yourself lessons as they “evolve” in their lives–I say ‘over and over again’ because that’s the way we all need to hear this self-esteem stuff before our true evolution finally occurs–

will you please tell them for me?

Posted January 22nd, 2012 by
Ann's Diary: Triangles
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Fiji Magic

Don’t tell anyone at Fiji water that I wrote this, or else they’ll start sending me free water and make people think I’m on the take..

but last week when I had my infusion, I drank Fiji water before my blood draw–the one that usually takes like 7 draws for them to tap my vein–

..and she got into my vein on the first try.

Coincidence, right? That’s what I figured. Yet as a human phlebotomy pin cushion I can tell you I am always the problem child in the chemotherapy room. Lord help me if and when I actually need real chemo. Right now I’m getting a bone strengthener drug instead, but I still need to get it dripped, or infused, into my aching arm each month. And trying to get that dang needle into my veined-challenged arm is hell on the nurses, the phlebotomists, anyone passing by who hears my whimpered cries, and on whomever has to pay for the 5 needles it takes before the sixth one goes in.

So, due to my strange and exciting Fiji water experience of the day before, I drank another small bottle of Fiji H2O on the morning of my infusion. But I went into the Infusion Center prepared to get poked. It can sometimes take upwards of 5 tries for the poor nurses to strike hemoglobin-gold with me. So I sat down, and the nurse got the needle out, and we both prepared for repeated failure…

and she got it on the first try.

Not to be an undercover blogger/ Fiji water marketer–which I’m not–but honestly, I could be. Because that stuff saved my arm this month.

Could I prove that in a court of law? Absolutely not. And speaking of proof, the real proof will be next month–when I try my experiment again. It may fail miserably–I may drink a gallon of the stuff and have nothing but track marks and a bad day to show for it. If so, there goes 3 dollars for a bottle of water.

But if it is a success, my non-aching arm will be reaching for the Fiji water on a monthly basis–

and I’ll be and thanking my lucky stars I discovered that, for some reason, this South Pacific island hydration, collected and available on my grocery store shelf, is making a world of difference for one North American breast cancer fighter.

Posted January 18th, 2012 by
Ann's Diary: Fiji Magic
Posted in: Ann's Diary