out damn spot

May 9, 2007 § 10 Comments

I had my acting debut in the 5th grade. I was Lady Macbeth. What do 10 year olds know about Shakespeare? Not much. 30 some years later my knowledge is marginally improved. Macbeth has been added to my Netflix queue.

I liked being in front of an audience even as it made my palms sweat and stomach gurgle. I liked the costume; a long black dress that swept the dust from the stage. It would be many years before I would have the occasion to wear such a dramatic outfit again. Even now I struggle to find an event that mandates a spectacular black outfit. As for the play, I knew my cue and the abbreviated version required just an inch of memorization.

Out damn spot. Out I say. Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him. All the perfumes of Arabia shall not sweeten this little hand.

At which point I was directed to moan deeper than the sea and loud enough to drown the sounds of kids on the playground. I did.

I read my lines with passion. I moaned as directed and my ear-to-ear grin never wavered. I was a hit. When the curtain dropped I received a flood of attention, and praise of one particular type. The audience of mothers approached me “You have such a lovely smile dear”.

No one thought I was serious.

Out damn spot. Out I say.

Left breast upper outer quadrant partial mastectomy. Comment: a scattering of single and nested tumor cells present within microns of margins. Out damn spot.

17 lymph nodes removed. Comment: 3 positive for cancer. Out I say.

I have yet to moan deeper than the sea but I feel a tsunami growing.

All that poison, months of ingesting paint thinners and toxic waste and the cancer remains. Smaller, but present.

I am not smiling.

Out damn spot. Out I say.

I scheduled my next operation for early June after Mothers Day and Memorial Day and all the wonderful concerts my daughter will sing in this month. After my windows boxes have taken hold and I plant some herbs and stick an old kitchen sink in the front yard. I might just have enough hair they will actually need to stick that silly cap on my head in the operating room.

Damn. I would have bet the house there was nothing in the nodes.

Out damn spot.

Xoxo Momo


§ 10 Responses to out damn spot

  • Patryce says:

    Dear Momo,
    I’m really sorry to hear the the damn spot remains and your next step is another surgery. I have tremendous respect for your amazing strength and spirit.
    More and more and more, thoughts and prayers for you!!!!
    xxoo ~ Patryce

  • Eileen says:

    Damn spot!!

  • oz says:

    I’m envisioning spot running far, far away.

  • Karen VS says:

    Lady Macbeth also said:
    But screw your courage to the sticking place,
    and we’ll not fail.

    First, poison. Second, scalpel. Third time’s always a charm!

    with utter affection,

  • Dd says:

    I like what Karen VS said,
    With utter admiration…

    Go momo go! We’ll cut the cancer out, and use radiation on whatever’s left and the summer will shine on!


  • Wynelle says:

    Ooof. Not what you want to hear. But–and please forgive my ignorance here–it sounds like you’re down to single cells now? Identifiable, quantifiable cells in the sea of you? They don’t stand a chance.

    Nuke the little f**ckers into oblivion!

  • Cathy Hurst says:

    That was always the risk with the two-step procedure. But it was worth trying the less invasive surgery first, even though it’s not fun (and not smile-worthy) to go through two procedures. Have as peaceful a possible May, and best wishes and prayers for a happier result in June….


  • Daniel John says:

    moved me to tears

  • oz says:

    Donation Suggestion:
    Anyone wishing to donate in Momo’s honor to American Cancer Society can do so at:


  • Karen Cote says:

    A breast cancer survivor shared with me at the beginning of my journey that this would be “the best of years and the worst of years”. The worst part is evident. The best part is the ongoing love and support of family and friends (even those you’ve only met on email).
    I had to follow your same route with “dirty” margins after the lumpectomy. The further surgery is not that bad-just another bump in the road…Your continued grace and courage continue to shine through. Don’t lose that spirit!
    Please call for support and maybe a cup of coffee? We’ll save the mojitos for later!
    Love, Karen Cote

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