Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Updates from Cancerville, USA . . .

I just returned late last night from Portland, Oregon where I was honored to be with my sister for her last scheduled chemo treatment. She truly was a champ, all bandaged up in pink, signing thank you notes (which I will mail out shortly) and staying awake even during the slow, steady hum o' my incessant yammerin'. Jen had a great chemo party last time when I named it ROCK STAR CHEMO and she got all sorts of rockstar everything for her chemo party! This last appt was unofficially IT'S OVER, ROVER cuz, well, hopefully it is!! If I had been there when she walked out afterward, I would have serenaded her with WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, WOOF WOOF WOOF-WOOF. And while I try to stay positive and not get too pissed at her painless brazilian and to-die-for assortment of cute hats and wigs, I am reminded of the negative side of all that is happening. I mean, for cripes' sake, TAKE OUT LUNCH ON CHEMO DAY???? Hasn't she suffered enough??
And on a TRULY positive and grateful note, on her final day of chemo and the day I was with her, I received the last of donations to meet my fund-raising requirement for my run in June to benefit the leukemia/lymphoma society! I will be doing the 1/2 marathon in Seattle on June 26. I've been in training for months now. Training consists of lots of running, some workout/stretching, massages, chiropractics, and mostly me practicing NOT tripping. But me being me, I can't promise anything, so if you can attend the race, keep those camera's poised.

Last week I was in Seattle for a short trip to spend Brenda's final chemo treatment with her! I wasn't feeling too well but Brenda put up with me and Lori and I cheered her on to graduate! We unofficially named her chemo "IT'S A WRAP!" cuz it's the end of it and I was supposed to be her surprise present (but not wrapped) but when flights got all messed up and everything looked bleak, Lori told Brenda that I was on my way. So in the nick of time, I did make it! Even tho I wasn't quite the surprise we planned, it was still a great celebration!! (BTW, I think I left my 7-up under your private princess chemo room bed. I'm thirsty now. hint hint)

Today is Kari's big day again~!! She's at 7 of 8 chemo treatments, so in two weeks will be her FINAL one! While I was in Portland during spring break, I spent chemo with her, which I aptly named FANCY CHEMO cuz it was darn fancy! Complete with fancy bejeweled rings and Starbucks drinks and OUTRAGEOUS oatmeal cookies (duh!) We put the fancy in chemo that day for sure!! Mostly I thought it was fancy cuz I got to spend the afternoon with sweet, fancy Kari!

While a couple gals have radiation tanning beds to look forward to and we're not sure what they're gonna do with Jen besides wait for her next scan, the path ahead is lengthy but positive!! As I say my universal "prayers" which at one time consisted of begging for their healing, I now say thank you for all the great things. I feel thankful for their recoveries which I know is just ahead. I feel thankful for reconnections with people that I haven't been with for MANY years, which would have never happened, had no one caught the c-word. What a windy, curvy, sometimes confusing road with lots of speed-bumps! My friends and me, we have so much to be grateful for. I love the way we find stuff to laugh at in the face of this monster who is powerless to our fixation with remission. Yesterday while Jennifer and I were complaining that the chemo room had no internet available, Jen said "If we're lucky, I'll still have cancer next year when they finally get wi-fi!!" Cooooool. :-) (Lesson here is only get cancer where wi-fi is available. Makes facebooking and online shopping so much easier.)

Thanks for your cheers, your messages of hope, your donations to the cancer fund, your emotional support, your smiles and your love. It's felt in such far-reaching ways, you'll never know . . .

I don't think I'm alone when I say that my day will be complete when I can blog one day soon, Cancerville, Population ZERO!

With TONS o' gratefulness,
Chatty K

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Break and the APRIL Challenge

I just returned from my spring vacation Oregon visit. I had a wonderful time there!! I'm usually ready to get back to real life when vacations end, but this one is harder to close out. I thoroughly enjoyed my mom, my grandma, my Saltmarsh/Ratty cousins and aunts, Shirley Forrette, the Reisingers, and my Uncle Paul and Claire. The real craziness started when my amazing cousin, Deanna, brought a redneck party to the house. We dressed up. Well, SOME of us did. Not everyone needed to. :-) With guns, blacked out teeth, billy bob teeth, missing teeth, men's unders, beer cans and improperly spelled signage, we let cancer know what we think of it!! And my mom pole danced on a rife. It was an absolute blast!! I was introduced to Lambic Framboise, which is the tastiest raspberry beer ever!! It's from Vermont, which made it seem classier. Ok, it's beer. Whatev. I LOVED it!! My grandma, mom, Katie and I beaded. It's our go-to hobby when we'd rather be drinking. :-)

Then I left for Portland/Salem in *The Kathleen Ann Caravan* with my niece, Katie, who put up with me for our 4 1/2 hour roadtrip. We played a "fill-in-the-blank" game where we discovered that "The Kathleen-Ann's" love GREEN, THE NAME LILY, and PAPILLONS.

Very nice to see my scarfy sister, Jennifer! Then I drove to Salem and got my BFF wish of fun and frolicking with Lori and Brenda. We hadn't all been together since our San Francisco trip in December. Since then Brenda has started chemotherapy for her boob cancer. She just LOVES freaking people out with her bald head. For someone with the cutest hats and wig, she does a lot of stripping them off! (Before chemo, Brenda was a total exhibitionist anyway. Just now, she MOSTLY strips her head. MOSTLY.)

After a couple days with the BFF's, we welcomed my sister and our dear friend/little sis, Kim FN into our fold for an overnighter!! The margarita machine kept up with us pretty much. We all stayed busy climbing rock walls and photo-shopping star wars characters trying to "laser beam us." Then the It-ly girl got sleepy and wanted to head to bed so she could make mass the next morning. Which we didn't let her do . . . someone had to make bacon and eggs for the hungover.

During this next week, I got to attend chemo for my friend, Kari, who is also fighting cancer. She did terrific at our FANCY CHEMO party!! My time with her was so very special. We had a LOT of catching up to do. I can't imagine spending that time with anyone else and coming away with such a warm feeling in my heart. She's courageous and positive and filled to the brim with love. Thanks, Kari, for sharing it with me!! Oh, and we pole-danced on her IV to the sounds of her poison pipe cleaner killing all the cancer. For back-up, it was all about the Pop Rocks. And it was FANCY. :-)

I got some more sister time before I had to go back to Medford. We did dinner at Stanford's and shopping! (We hated that. Eating AND shopping. What a drag.) I enjoyed our evening and then chatting it up the next morning. She got me coffee!! (I wonder if I moved in with her . . .)

I drove to Medford with Ipod problems but managed to stay between the lines and got safely to southern Oregon. My mom was waiting patiently for me, with some very yummy pumpkin/black bean soup for dinner!! She put together a little soiree for my Uncle Paul and Claire, who just arrived back from south of the border (not California. Lower.) and Leon, Elaine and Lori Reisinger, who are some of my favoritest Jacksonville-ites. They've known me since diapers and still seem to like me. Super-lucky me!

On Saturday morning, my mom and grandma went to breakfast with me. FYI: Nana shouldn't be trusted with cameras. Not only can she NOT find us in the digital screen on back, but when she pushes the button, she lowers the camera immediately, which means the only shots we get are of our boobs. Maybe Nana does it on purpose. We're not really sure. But when Mom took a pic with me and Nana, she suggested we get the boobs. I told her that was not possible, since I was standing on them. My bad, Nana.

I flew out from Medford to Denver last night, in time for a show with The Rouge. That was great! Their bass player, Jack, was celebrating his birthday. What do you get a guy who's just been signed by Atlantic Records?? A shopping trip with Nana??

So, folks, I'm not very far from my fundraising goal for my lymphoma run in June! In the interest of getting this money raised so I can get on with just running and training, I'd like to challenge everyone. I'm a HUGE Starbucks fan. I sometimes go once everyday. Somedays I take friends and buy several drinks in a day. Sometimes I just plain get thirsty and go by myself more than once in a day!! (shhhh.) So, this is what I'm going to do and challenge you: Every errand day or time I drive past my favorite Starbucks drive thru - JUST FOR APRIL - I'm going to NOT go to Starbucks, but I will go into my fundraising site and donate $5. Everytime. (OK, seriously, I may go a couple times but if I do, I pledge to donate twice what I spend there to the Lymphoma fundraiser. That'll learn me.) On May 1, I will look at my fundraiser site and anyone who has had a donation or donations of $5, I will put your name in a drawing and send the winner a Starbucks card. Many of you have already donated and I thank you SO much, from the bottom of my running socks!! I have the super-est and most terrific-est supporters and I'm so thankful for you!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hi Friends/Family!!

I haven't asked any of you for money for a long time. (Well, since the "out of country butt-lift incident.") I'm BEGGING now, though. This isn't for me. It's for my sister and all other loved ones who've suffered from Lymphoma or Leukemia or Hodgkin's or Myeloma. I've joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for their Team In Training (TNT) to prepare for a marathon on June 26. I'll be running in the Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. I have to raise $4100.00. I posted my fundraising website yesterday and I'm just floored by the response so far! I have the best friends and family, folks!! A GINORMOUS thank you to those who have already donated!!

I am working on some fund-raising activities in Colorado Springs to help fund the donation effort as well. Some of the fund-raising ideas that went to the BOTTOM of the list so far . . . .

  • Kissing or licking booth for Karma. (That girl is ALLLLLLL puppy!)
  • At work, allowing staff members to nap in the afternoon, but they pay $1/minute and I promise not to tell.
  • Everyone who is ugly pays me $10/day until they get pretty.
  • Standing in a busy mall restroom and charging per square for t.p.
  • Posing nude in the Geriatric Playboy magazine. Pet peeves: saggy stuff.
  • Selling off Stephen's baby things. Maybe I should wait for him to be more famous-er first.
  • Mug people.
So, it's a work in progress.

Thank you for remembering me when you pay bills and have money left :-) If anyone has a business in the Seattle area, there are corporate sponsorships available. If a business donates $1,000.00 or more, their business name will be printed on my running jersey. That would be awesome advertising if I don't trip and fall.

Thank you, thank you . . .


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I gotta new Atti-chatty

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never gonna keep me down

I started running about a month ago. I had never run before. Not even to the bathroom. Suddenly my entire wardrobe is "wicking" and I'm tearing a pathway everywhere I go. And I have A LOT of energy!! The changes in my mental health are flooring me every single day. I feel SUPER positive and determined and motivated and ready to take on the world! The world can wait, though, cuz for now I'm going to fight cancer for my sister and my friends. Cancer is a terrible thing but it's real and it happens. I have wished SO many times that instead of Jen, Bren or Kari, that it was me with this . . . thing, cuz I feel so able to fight it. There's such a big piece of this terrible thing that is mental. And I'm MENTAL!!!! (in a good way, I hope.)

I'm not just running around like a weirdie, tho. I'm actually training for a lymphoma marathon in June. I arranged to run my race in Seattle so I can be closest to those I love and to those who need my special powers of FIGHTING THE EVIL C-WORD.

It's crazy. I guess the transformation of running and putting my head in this game is bringing on a bigger and farther reaching impact. My need to be healthy in every way is so ginormous. I want to eat better and just be positive and have healthy relationships and pursue peace and joy for myself. Because of parenting and ex-super religious martyr-dom, I've always put myself last on the list. Now, almost epiphony-like, I see that I need to be FIRST on the list so I can take care of everyone else. I definitely struggle with ever putting anything before my boys, but I think I'll be better prepared to help them through whatever I can still help them with, if I'm happy and mentally ready for whatever challenge they toss my way.

I'm sending out some really great energy and I have super high expectations for what will come back to me. I absolutely demand and believe no less than remission in three gals who deserve it. I expect myself to compete and finish this upcoming marathon in June. Then I expect to do it again for breast cancer. I expect myself to be a good enough person and challenge the universe to bring it all back my way and make my three dreams come true in Clackamas, Kirkland and Boring. Come on, Mother Earth, no dilly-dallying!!!

Please join me with your energy, wishes, prayers . . . we all have something to offer these girls fighting for their lives. If you aren't where you'd like to be now, think about what it will take. But be open. You never know what will change your life. I thought running was just what you did to escape from the po-po. Be strong!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Catch up and cancer (insert tough guy face)

In November, my two besties - Lori and Brenda - flew out to Colorado to visit. We shopped, we ate, some of us drank :-), we saw The Rouge in concert, we took pictures, we visited my mother-in-law, we facebook-ed, we shopped, we laughed a little (ok, a LOT) and cried a little . . . did I mention we shopped? Mostly, we got to see that we're all so connected at soul level and it's a shame we don't do this more. SOOOOO, we got some hair-brained scheme to do it a month later in San Francisco - which was awesome!!

Sometime after the November visit, we all got totally bombarded with cancer. We think Brenda caught it on the toilet seats in Denver. My sister grew it on her spine and then our other friend and neighbor from 1979-80, Kari, got it. Instead of sitting around crying about it - or I should say AFTER sitting around crying about it, we picked ourselves off, dusted off Denver and got to work. Our friend Kim FN, my wonderful rockstar cousin, Deanna, and many others started fighting cancer with us. We try to keep 'em laughing, shocked, and occasionally use a more scientific approach with Pop Rocks to blow this bad cell crap right outta there!

Thanksgiving at the Chatty-house was nice. Anytime my boys are here, it's fantastical! We ate, some of us drank, but all in all, we got through it without anyone ending up in the backyard singing "Oh Where Are My Pants Now?" Sean had to work (something about keeping the nation secure - whatev) so our dining table included Chatty, the Chatty Husband, The Chatty Baby, Chatty girl-dogs, the Chatty In-Laws, and my hairy nephew, Jakey.

The San Francisco BFF trip was great, may I say? We ate, drank, shopped, laughed, teared up a few times, laughed, computer-ed it up and even got an INCREDIBLE video of BFF Lori doing a very magical rendition of "I'm A Ballerina" with all the dance steps even! This video remains in my *private* collection to only be brought out upon approval of said starlet. Except for the 2 months The Rouge boys had access to it.

Christmas Eve was a plethora of fun at a Chinese buffet in Littleton, Colorado with the Chatty-Step Fam. We enjoyed Beth, Gale, David, Aaron, Amber, Amber's parents and brother, The Chatty In-laws, Chatty (duh!), Chatty Husband and Chatty Baby. (Again, Sean worked. Weird that always happens during family gatherings.) We did a gift exchange and I'm not saying who, but SOMEONE got bike-chafing butt creme from her brother. Hmmmm.

Christmas morning was just the Chatty Fam. We had a wonderful time opening such lovely gifts. Everyone was very thoughtful, but mostly we felt so lucky to have each other for the special Santa-mas Day. The Chatty In-laws joined us later in the day for a nice dinner. We enjoyed a day of movies and music and video games. And we napped. That may have been the Chatty-kid's favorite part!

New Year's brought a great party at the Roger's house. It's one of those places that with enough drinks one could get lost in it. I saw my first game of Beer Pong. I didn't play it tho. It's actually disgusting - but fun to watch! We watched a pool tourney but couldn't tell you who did what or who was best so I cheerlead-ed for both sides. We hung out until about 10:30 pm when the Chatty's were ready to collapse from sheer exhaustion - drinking is tough and tiring! We were asleep before the ball dropped.

Of course January brought some birthday's - BFF Lori, BFF big sis Shelly, Vonda, just to name a couple.

The Rouge boys, of which the Chatty Baby is drummer, continue to succeed in their quest for a great music career! They had a great show in Denver on January 19. They left for tour with Safety Suit and Parachute for SLC and Boise. They were invited to continue the tour through California, which is where they're headed as I write. A combination of huge talent and making great contacts is propelling their career to major success!! GO ROUGE GUYS!!

So, the tumor on my sister's spine has shrunk 70% after 2 chemo treatments. Her 4th chemo (or pole dance, as we call it) is the first week of February. We're crossing everything, hoping for that complete tumor to get knocked outta the block at some point very soon. Enough of this, Universe! I think everyone agrees that hair is over-rated. My cousin Deanna (superstar!) and I already got some hair removed in honor of Jen. She was thoughtful to not request us to shave our heads during winter but we still stepped up to her uh, OTHER challenge.

Brenda's 2nd chemo is on Monday. We're ready. Anti-cancer Ninja's are already at work. Brenda learned last night that my love has no limit. She wanted pictures of me doing cartwheels whether I was dressed for it OR NOT. I believe a few more bad cells died off due to my gymnastic porn. Bring it on, Bren!!

Kari has her first chemo the day after Jen's. It's scary, I bet, that first time. But she's ready. She's taking donuts to her nurses so they like her and give her the clean needle! During my workouts, with each strain I just imagine I'm stomping or pushing those bad cells outta her. I won't go so far to say I'm sweating, but when I GLISTEN PROFUSELY, I know it's for her and how can I NOT push myself even harder?

I'm training for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Run in Seattle in June. I'll be raising about $8400.00 toward the research and cure of blood cancers. The organization says that by 2015, blood cancers will be cured or managed. Wouldn't that be cool? I lost my dad to complications of leukemia and now with baby sister and her stOOPid Lymphoma - she calls OJ; I prefer Scaramunga - I gotta fight this fight!! Anyone in the northwest wanna join me in Seattle? I'd love the support of running this 1/2 marathon with you. But anyone who wants to wait for me at the finish line, I'd LOVE that support too! I think I'll put my sister in charge of preparing my Ipod with just the right motivating music and messages to keep me going. It sounds like it will be very cool and I'm planning on using that day to celebrate her REMISSION!!!

All good, positive, energetic, motivated and determined energy to ya! This year 2010 belongs to Jen, Bren and Kari - I love you each and plan to celebrate OUR remissions soon!!

Chatty Kat

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I've got a secret.

I have a secret and it's not about who-kissed-who-down-by-the-well. It's BETTER!! It involves The Rouge show this weekend. I can't tell and I sure want to tell but I've sworn myself to secrecy. I don't want to jinx this specialness. But once the secret is out (Friday afternoon) I promise to share!!

It's not the "Don't ask; don't tell" sort of secret. I just can't tell. Almost like I wouldn't tell anyone what my Halloween costume was but then I posted a gazillion pictures of it once I dressed up. It involves hugging, kissing, drinking, taking pictures, karaoke and possibly another romp or two in the Scooby costume. It will definitely include laughing, giggling, pointing, Oh-My-Goshing, and double daring.

And when it's all over, it will most likely be all tears, pinky swears and more hugging. And there will be pictures. LOTS of pictures!! And video footage. And if I'm really lucky, there will be cops. And if I'm SUPER lucky, those cops will be strippers.

And this, folks, is a mystery for Scooby Dooooooo! ('Cept without the camouflaged video projector and Ol' Man Pritchard.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to you!

So yesterday was a very important day in the Chatty household! The Chatty-Husband turned 50 years old, to which I cringe as I write. On the upside, the alternative to NOT turning 50 is not so nice, so we'll take it. He took the day off work and spent it with me - ChattyKat.

I did my best to entertain him, although I had a meeting and a doctor appt. During which times, in the interest of keeping him entertained, I left him with a list of things to do around the house. I'm only thinking of him being bored. AND I need to squeeze out as much work as possible before he gets too old to do anything!

The exciting part of our day, besides eating lunch at Guiseppe's Depot was going to Denver and meeting both Chatty-boys for dinner at Cheesecake Factory. Our whole fam hadn't been together since . . . awhile ago when we all went to Old Spaghetti Factory to celebrate my late birthday. The evening is always hysterical when we're together. We made big plans for Thanksgiving together, which is probably the next time we'll gather as a foursome.

Ron got an apple pie from his mom (YUM!), a Barnes and Noble gift card from his mother-in-law and a video camera from me! It's some minute little video camera that looks like something James Bond might use. And since the Chatty-Husband is known for infiltrating the country's enemies, it may come in handy. Or he can use it to get some great drumming footage on November 6, with the club owner being none the wiser! Oh, we're sneaky-sneaky-no-peaky types.

We had a really great evening on October 19. It doesn't get any better than spending an evening together.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Megan!!