Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why I Am Too Stupid to Breed

There should be a test every potential parent has to take before they are allowed to reproduce and pass along their genetic material.  And I really, really should have been required to take that test.  I am very relieved that all of my children seem to have inherited my husband's intelligence and common sense and not my stupidity and inability to pay attention.  I am also grateful that I no longer have the physical ability to pass along my stupidity.  (Hey, if you want to thank my surgeon personally, email me and I'll send you his name and address.)

First, the back story.  On April 15, 2009, my best friend in the whole world was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.  Malea went through a double mastectomy six days after her diagnosis and had four lymph nodes removed.  She then went through rigorous, intensive chemotherapy for six months to make sure the cancer was gone.  It sucked.

Late last year, her bloodwork came positive for ovarian cancer.  Excuse me, what????  Again, she fought back with everything she had and the offending tumor, ovary, and fallopian tube were removed.  It turned out that when she had her tubes tied (um, like eleven years ago?), they actually tied a tumor off into the fallopian tube and it's been in there, just growing away, ever since.  Why this was not discovered when they found the breast cancer, I do not understand.  But wait.  There's more.

Six weeks ago, her blood tests again came back with positive cancer markers.  There is no word for how terrifying this is.  She went for a PET scan.  When she showed me the lab report, it said "Metastatic Carcinoma."  The doctors found tumors in two of the lymph nodes under her left arm.  Lymph nodes that had tumors that have been there all along and should have been removed in the original surgery two years ago.  I am very unhappy with all this doctor fuckery.

So, to try to keep this a little bit brief, I'll sum up.  The only person in the world that I would actually throw my physical self under the bus for has metastatic breast cancer.  The treatment is six weeks of intensive radiation targeted at the tumors.  They can't remove them because they are sitting on a nerve and it could do serious damage if they went in to that area again surgically.  So they are doing intensive, targeted radiation, five days a week for six weeks.  She then has to wait a month and do another PET scan.  And we pray, beg, plead, hope beyond hope that this time, finally, she will be cancer free.  Please God, a break here!

Malea is the strongest, most positive, creative, joyful, loving, patient person I know.  I am honored to have her in my life and even more honored that she calls me (me!) her best friend.  Even though we've been through a few years of not being able to see each other that often, we are finally back in the same state and now within an hour's drive of each other.  And, there's texting!  Oh, the joy when I got my texting phone in January,  I did not wait out my Sprint contract.  After all, it's American Idol time and I need my BFF to comment with me on the crappy job the worst singers are doing.  We charge our phones on Idol days and text back and forth throughout the show.  We're trying to figure out another show we can do this with after Idol is over, because Wednesday and Thursday nights are our favorite nights of the week.  But, I digress.

So, yesterday.  Malea is now in radiation treatment.  She started on Monday (like, you know, this week) and, being her BFF, I want to help.  I told her to pick two days a week and I will drive up and take her to therapy.  Yesterday was the first day that was my turn and I gladly drove an hour up to pick her up and then we hopped in the car for the 45 minute drive over to Fairfax to the radiologist.  We got there early and went to the nail salon for a little girlie treatment and then she went to radiation.  After she was done, I drove us over to the nearest little shopping plaza, left the Explorer in the parking garage, and we went to Panera for lunch.

Now, I have been making it a habit over the last four years to always make sure I have removed my car keys from the ignition and put them in my purse before locking the car doors after doing the dumbest thing I have ever done in my life.  I actually took Ben to a doctor's appointment and left the keys in the ignition for an hour, the car idling, and the doors unlocked in a parking lot on a major intersection in the middle of town.  Why no one stole the car, I have no idea.  (Are you understanding now why I shouldn't be breeding?)

Yesterday, I took the keys out of the ignition, got out of the driver's side door, opened the passenger door, threw my car keys into my purse, locked the doors with the button on the driver's interior door (do not ever lock your car doors unless you use the remote outside of the car when it is in your hand) and we went to lunch at Panera.  As we were finishing up lunch and getting ready to leave, I started searching my purse for the keys.  And searching.  And searching.  The keys were Not. In. My. Purse.  Total panic ensued on my part.  Malea, as always, remained perfectly calm and collected.  The girl in radiation treatment was comforting the girl who was supposed to be supporting her through her cancer treatment.

We decided that maybe a good idea would be to retrace our steps back to the truck, since obviously I had my keys up until the time we got out of it.  After inquiring of the girl who took our table after we got up and the woman behind the counter at the restaurant, we went back out, through the stairwell that smelled like urine (people, I am dragging a sick woman who just underwent radiation through a piss-smelling stairwell because I lost my fucking keys), back through the garage, to the locked vehicle.  No keys.

At this point, I am sobbing helplessly (well, maybe not quite that hard, but definitely crying and cursing) and searching my purse frantically, looking around the outside of the car to see if I dropped them when I got out.  And it occurs to me that I did one very smart thing in my life nine years ago when we bought the car that might help me.  I had saved the little card that had the keyless entry code on it and it was actually still in my wallet.  Really?  So I drag out my wallet and sure enough, there's the key code.  I punch it in and the car doors magically unlock.  We were in the car!  Still keyless, but we're inside the car!  A frantic search ensued of the interior, looking for the keys.  Nope.  No keys.  At this point, I'm beside myself.  They could have powered the space shuttle with the adrenaline that was coursing through my system.

Back out into the plaza we went, checking in every shop to see if anyone had turned in the keys.  At this point, I am blubbering and frantically texting Justin, who is two hours away and working (you know, earning the money that allows me to write this shit on a daily basis for my own and hopefully your entertainment) that I can't find my keys and I might need him to drive up to Fairfax and bring me the spare key.  Malea is texting her husband to tell him I've misplaced (okay, lost) my keys and what should we do and he's packing up his things to come over and sit with us until Justin can get up there with the spare.  Oh my God, could I have fucked this up any worse???  I was trying to allow her husband the opportunity to go to work by taking Malea to radiation and now he's going to have to leave work to come help us out?  What kind of friend am I????

We go back to the garage (by elevator and not through the urine soaked stairwell this time, because, really, twice was enough) and start searching in and around the car again.  The cell phone signals are cutting in and out and Justin is texting me multiple times, trying to find out if he needs to come up and bail my stupid ass out for the millionth time in the last 23 years we have been married.  And he's not angry, people.  I have good people in my life.  I really, really do.

Finally, I admit defeat and start walking back towards the entrance to the garage to get a good signal so I can tell Justin that yes, his dumbass wife has indeed lost her car keys somewhere between the car and Panera, two hours away, and he is going to have to drop everything and bring the spare.  All of a sudden, Malea, who has decided it might be a good idea to check under the passenger seat yells, "Here they are!!!"  I thought I was hearing things.  I ran back to the car and, sure enough, she had the keys in her hand.  Texting and phone calls to husbands that they can stay put all around.  I was shaking and trying not to have a total nervous breakdown and she was trying to tell me that really, this was going to be a very funny story after we recovered from the last 45 minutes.

Here's what I finally figured out.  We were chatting as we pulled into the parking space and got out of the car.  I pulled the keys out of the ignition, still chatting, opened the back door on the driver's side, thought that I threw my keys into my purse but missed, and they landed on the passenger side under the back passenger seat.  I put my purse over my shoulder, pushed the lock button on the driver's door, shut all of the doors, and walked away.  If I hadn't had the entry code in my wallet, Justin would have had no choice but to drive up with the spare key.  If Malea hadn't been smart enough to look under the passenger side seat, we still would be looking.  If, if, if...I drove her home so she could rest after 45 minutes of panic and trying to locate my keys.  Not exactly a successful first run to radiation treatment, although the manicure and lunch were fantastic.  When she's done with radiation, I think we need to keep driving down there just to go to that salon and eat at that Panera.  When I go to take her tomorrow, I have vowed to myself, Justin, Malea, and her husband that I will attach my car keys to my body and lock the door with the remote from the outside of the car anytime we get out of it.

After I dropped her off, I drove the hour home, walked into the house and collapsed.  I asked Justin what the hell was wrong with me and he said I did three things wrong.  I wasn't paying attention when I dropped my keys "into my purse," I locked the door without using the remote, and I didn't check my purse for my keys before I locked the door.  He also said that he doesn't understand why it's so hard for me to pay attention to what I am doing right now because I'm so busy thinking about what I'm going to do next.  He watches me not pay attention all the time and I know it has to drive him crazy.  I'll watch the television while trying to put my drink on the coaster and almost miss.  Usually the computer is sitting right there and if I do miss, the water is going to ruin my computer.  Just one example.  I'm sure he could give you a list starting today and continuing into tomorrow of all of the stupid things I do on a daily basis, but he's just too nice to me to do that.

I think it's either ADHD, the bipolar disorder, or early Alzheimer's disease.  But whatever it is, I even annoy myself with it.  I'm absent minded, I can't keep track of anything, and I am constantly in a state of "where the hell did I put _________?"  I don't understand it.  My parents are brilliantly smart.  They both run successful businesses in their retirement.  Grandparents - equally smart as far as I know.  Where did this inability to survive without the help of my family and friends come from?

What it boils down to is this:  I should not be passing these genes along to people.  Luckily, it does not appear that I did when I had my children, as they all seem smart and able to keep track of whatever is going on.  Well, Jamie "loses" his homework a lot, but I don't think he's actually losing it.  I think his "losing" his homework is simply his somewhat smart attempt to get out of doing it.  Justin's IQ has been passed along and my craziness and inability to pay attention has not.  Everybody, thank God for that.

And, by the way, if I ever give advice on here, you are probably better off doing the opposite of whatever I am telling you to do.  I am not only too stupid to breed, I am too stupid to be mindlessly handing out advice to anyone.  If I can't keep track of my keys, do you really think you should be listening to me?  Laugh and move on, people!

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