One of the first things to go when I discovered I had a diagnosis of a large cancerous tumor extending from my left ovary was an interest in anything intellectual including books, magazines, and TV. It was almost as if the threat of death pushed out anything else that might take more brain function, thus when I wasn't crying or attempting to act brave I read Hollywood gossip mags and watched reality programming (okay, I was doing that stuff before, but not exclusively). At my worst I could only look at the pictures in the glossies of Nicole, Paris, and the cast of 'The Hills' and debate within myself if I liked what they were wearing. After awhile, even those endless competition shows on Bravo seemed a little too 'Masterpiece Theatre' for me and I ended up watching the dating shows on VH1. I longed for a drinking game whenever Tila or Flavor Flav commented that they didn't think a particular competitor/ho bag were "there for them" but might be there to further their career as a professional ho bag. Extra points would have been rewarded when they referred to themselves in third person.
Slowly I have made it back to actually reading books, yet I haven't read any non-fiction since November, unless you count the biography on Tom Cruise (which I wouldn't because it was junk reading except I found the world of Scientology extremely depressing). I have read chick lit after chick lit to various levels of satisfaction. I began one of Christopher Moore's novels about vampires called 'You Suck' and decided, pardon the obvious cliché, it sucked too much to invest my otherwise precious time. Currently I'm reading 'The Washingtonienne' by sex blogger Jessica Cutler and I am realizing two things; 1. Washington is a lot hornier than I first imagined. 2. I'm a virgin in comparison to Cutler.
I have found that I look more forward to certain shows that I was attached to before my diagnosis. I have to think twice before leaving the house on Wednesday nights because 'America's Next Top Model' is on. Thursdays during new 'Lost' showings has become semi-sacred. And don't even get me started about 'Project Runway' moving from the Bravo network to Lifetime…I know WTF? Side note about 'PR' the night after my surgery a friend stayed at the hospital with me (God Bless her) and the only thing I was excited about was that we could watch 'Project Runway' together. Of course fate wasn't being too kind to me then and after going through all of the hospital channels at least three times did I finally come to the conclusion that the hospital cable didn't have 'PR.' They had three operation channels (one in Spanish) but no Bravo. Thankfully they cut me loose two days later.
On the third day after my treatment I usually feel the brunt of my nausea and my concentration blows. I end up watching whatever is on Bravo. Strike that, I don't watch as much as listen to the shows in between bouts of sleeping. The only things that keep me from not being overly depressed is the idea that in a week's time I'll feel jolly – still bald, but jolly nevertheless.
I'm taking it as a good sign that I no longer crave the gossip rags. For awhile it was as if I couldn't live without them. You should have seen me trying to get a hold of the magazine that had an article about the pregnancy of Jamie Lynn (Britney Spear's sister). I was like a mad woman who had to be in the gossip loop. What was I doing with last week's glossies when this week's was so much more shiner? Oddly at the moment I can't even stomach the idea of reading anything at the level of 'US Weekly.' Perhaps I have Perez Hilton to thank for that.
With that I end my overview of my limited entertainment. Going out to movies in a wig sets me upon the idea that it is best to wait for everything to come on cable. I am contemplating reading a novel set in the Victorian era next. Best of all I purchased the DVD of the Showtime series 'The Tudors' in order to watch it during my last session of chemo. You know, a girl has to have something to look forward to.
© 2008 Westerfield
Things have changed. So far the news on my health has been good, knock on wood. Part of the reason I wrote some articles (several I have not posted yet) when I was going through my treatment was so I would remember the edge of going through it. You know, how sometimes your perception of things change once you step back; this was my attempt to write something while the experience was still raw.
I was influenced by Jon Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air' which he wrote right after the events of May 1996 when several climbers lost their lives on Mount Everest. I admired how he wrote with the pure emotion as if the momentum of the experience had not ceased. Later, in the paperback edition, he goes on and explains how some of the people, and or events, that he described were actually different once he gained some space from the situation.
I know that this article may appear somewhat like lite reading, but believe me, at the time I was written, everything seemed heavy…even a viewing of Flavor Flav.