a new category

March 13, 2007 § 8 Comments

Frannie and I were listening to a CD called “Kids Klassics”. A retro compilation where silly and feel good were the only criteria for inclusion in the 2-CD set. It featured the camp classic “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?” and the lesser known but an equally wacky song called “Typewriter”. A lead typewriter takes center stage with all its bings and flying cartridge chachings.

That was a few years back, and Frannie complained, what’s a typewriter? Born and raised on Apples; emacs, imacs and a G4 in between, she had never heard of an IBM selectric. Insert big sad face here.

In ten words or less, I explained the evolution of typewriter to computer, never once dealing with the actual mechanics of the thing. I just hit on the obvious; we used sheets of paper and cursed our mistakes. There was no delete button, save as function, or MyLittlePony.com.

I felt like some wild west cowboy talkin’ bout the olden days to my little sweetie. Frannie concluded that her world was superior to mine. And I might have agreed, were it not for my current medical condition.

“Mom, did they have Noggin when you were little?”

“No, honey we only had a few channels and Noggin wasn’t one of them”

Her questions came fast and furious, beginning the same way.

“Mom did they have blah blah blah when you were little?”

“No” to Webkinz
“No” to ipods
“No” to Whole Food Supermarkets
“No” to tofutti cuties
“Yes” to homework and Hebrew School and brushing your teeth.

“Mom did they have breast cancer when you were little?”

OK, she didn’t asked this question, but I’ve been wondering how I might answer it if she did.

Of course they had breast cancer 40 years ago, I looked it up. One in twenty women were diagnosed with it. Is it my imagination, or were they older ladies in housecoats and moo-moos.

Today it’s one in eight, there are no age restrictions or fashion requirements.

If this trend continues, when Frannie is my age, the odds of her getting breast cancer could increase to 1 in 5. Eenie meenie miny moe. The best companies to work for will offer onsite childcare and chemotherapy clinics. At that point, I strongly recommend you call in sick and take the week off.

It’s everywhere and I am not sure why.

There are armies searching for nano cures but why do all these abnormal cells appear? What’s in the fibre of our lives that stimulates these abhorant growths? Are the Tampax guilty or is it the toilet paper? The hormone pumped meat? The over processed dairy? The plastic coated green peppers and cucumbers or the handy dandy counter cleaners?

Everyday slogging through my personal drama, I realize I am nothing more than a bit player, part of the chorus way off in row 10,326. There are thousands, hundreds of thousand in front of me. Harder cases, sader cases, younger cases, cases that are further along, cases that are fatal and then, thank goodness the rows and rows of blessed survivor cases.

We are singing statistics with dr’s far too busy to offer follow up appointments.

My last chemo treatment was yesterday. A mixed bag, but more about that another day. Anticipating a celebration, I was out buying a Thank-you card for my nurse when I came upon an “Encouragement” card.

A b+w headshot of a radiant bald women with the following message: As you battle for strength and courage and healing; remember there are people all around you, cheering you on and waiting to lend a hand.

Just what we need, another category to navigate in The Hallmark Store. Move over Birthday Cards and Bar Mitzvah Cards, Anniversary Cards, Easter, Passover and Get Well Cards. You have some company. Breast Cancer Cards.

“Mom, did you have these when you were little?

xoxo Momo


§ 8 Responses to a new category

  • Rebecca says:


    Well said, as usual.

    Love, Reb

  • Gail says:

    Hi Hon,
    A newbee social worker called me today and asked what was Henry’s childhood like. Funny thing, about that. Parallel universe?

    When Henry was a kid, he had no refrigeration, a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling, a small brick cook stove built into the wall that served as the only heat even in the dead of winter.

    There was no running water and no bathing facilities. The outhouse and the well were in the courtyard surrounded by other delapidated apartment buildings. In the winter they would put the goose fat inbetween the two panes of glass in the little window to keep it from going bad. The rest they carried down to the basement to put in the cold cellar.

    And in honor of Passover being around the corner…I heard tell that his mother – our grandmother tied the matzo up in a piece of fabric and hung it from the ceiling so it wouldn’t touch anything chometz (not kosher). If that wasn’t bad enough, they had to draw enough water for the whole holiday and store it in a large covered barrel.

    Now that was way way before GPS, blue ray, blackberries and email. So much has changed since then, but it still seems like yestserday to him.

    Let’s pray that when Frannie is our age brilliant scientists will have developed a vaccine, a pill, anything, something that young women can take that will protect them from breast cancer. A silver bullet. A magic potion. A miracle surefire cure,

    I’m praying it’s sooner versus later.

    And I’ll be praying for you tomorrow….Love, Gail

  • paula says:

    What a bittersweet ending. I feel like I am anxiously eyeing the lovely rich chocolate dessert, when in fact I can barely get up from the table, my stomach is too full. Its been painful – stomaching your terror and fear, the descriptions of the actual treatments and after effects. Its impacted all of us, waking to sleeping.

    Your cancer is part of our lives, Maya, Ella and Nadav, when we talk about you, how you feel, how Frannie chooses to cope, how Gail manages.

    Its part of emails to my friends who read the blog, and ask me How you are? or tell me how amazing your entry was on daddy’s death. Yes, they too are online, and part of your cheering team.

    So with this eight chemotherapy- I am focused on continued healing, white light, candles, and spirits and angels protecting and healing before and after surgery. Be strong, get well, and know-
    we love you very very very very much.

  • Amy says:

    I think that the best “new category” is being able to go to China and come home with Frannie.

  • jette says:

    I love you momo…
    and yes in 1975 we still had the beatles (in some form), and yes we had kleenex, and way unfortunately – yes, breast cancer. (they diagnosed my mother with breast cancer and gave her 6 months to put her life in order – and much to thier wide-eyed surprise – she continued to plan her fabulous party for years later….(and by the way, she never wore a housecoat-but I did see her in a moo moo once)….thank you for your words….keep the plan…blog on….take every bit of my faith, strength, hope, love, anger – whatever you need….it’s for you.

  • Laura says:

    I am thinking only the best thoughts for you.
    Be well.

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