20 February 2009

War & Beast: The Irony and The WTFery

Wed. Feb. 11, Legal Seafoods

I'm sipping some Pinot Noir with Doreen, my good friend and former editor at the Globe. We're having lunch at the bar at Legal Seafoods in Braintree pondering the irony and general what-the-fuckery of this particular meeting. We haven't stopped talking long enough to order; our hands move in non-stop Italian gestures, something EB people tend to slip into involuntarily when in each other's presence. We can sense our waitress' heightening impatience but think -- especially in this case -- that horses should be held regardless of the lunch rush.

Doreen is a survivah. She gave a MF DCIS (that's "Mother Fucking Ductal Carcinoma In Situ" for the rookies) a cold hard beat down a few years ago. While her cancer was technically a Stage 0, it was no less a spooky ordeal. We talked a lot while she was undergoing radiation treatment and how she was certain her right boob was going to burn to a crisp and fall off like a piece of charred meat between the racks of a gas grill. She dealt with the bitch in the boob with her trademark humor (which I try to channel daily) and has emerged a healthier, stronger person, determined to give herself the best possible chance of never having the beast rear a single filthy cell in Righty ever again. After leaving the Globe, Doreen went to work as a VP at NECN and headed up their team for last year's Pan Mass Challenge.

Flashback: Jul. 10: Rooftop at the Colonnade

Of course, Nic, Cameo, Code Red and I rallied around Doreen's cause and attended NECN's Pan Mass Challenge fundraiser last July.

(Up on the roof: Hmmm, upon close inspection, I think I can see a little tumor sag going on in Lefty in this photo. Or it could just be very poor posture).

Anyway, it was a beautiful summer night in the city. Beneath the stars, we bought buckets of raffle tickets ---- and fetched quite a booty. Nic won a night's stay at the Parker House. I had back-to-back winnings, scoring some Red Sox tickets and a couple of GCs to Legal Seafoods. Retrieving my winnings led to some tipsy, touch-and-go maneuvering around the roof: Glass of vino in one hand, plate of appetizers in the other, I came dangerously close to knocking Billy Costa (he's very wee) into the swimming pool. Doreen stood on stage, handing out the prizes. As she handed me my GCs, she yelled into the mic: "We're going to lunch!"

Feb. 11, Legal Seafoods
So here we are having lunch 7 months later. Lunch on the GC that I won in the PMC raffle. Two Eastie girls bellying up to the bar, one Righty in remission, one Lefty with a Stage III IDC (invasive ductal carcinoma.)

But we still laugh about it and heartily. We share our MRI-freak out stories over some jasmine rice and salmon (we finally order lest we be bounced). For those unfamiliar, the "breast" MRI is worse than a regular one because you have to go into the machine face down. Then you have to ease your boobs through these giant holes (relative, of course, to one's cleavage) and smash your face into what appears to be one of those donuts you place your face in during a massage. Except you're all too aware that it's no massage.

Doreen's "freak out" came with her sudden (and irrational) realization that she was being "overtreated." She sat up and told the technician point blank, "I don't need an MRI! You people are overtreating me! I am fine! I was a stage o, etc, etc."

The technician walks out of the room. Tough Dorchester nurse walks in, which Doreen realizes is exactly what she needs right now:

NURSE: What's going on, honey?
DOREEN: (palms up in adversary) I'm being overtreated here. I don't want the MRI, I don't need the MRI, I...
NURSE: (interrupting) Honey, if Dr. K says you need it, you need it. Get in the machine.

Doreen reluctantly rolls in but not without hollering her mantra amid the banging and clanging and hammering of the MRI:



We reassure each other that these MRI people have to have seen it all. I tell Doreen about my Viking Funeral with the iPod and then of my similar freak out: The technicians had told me I couldn't use my iPod during my MRI but could avail myself of their satellite radio and headphones. Great! I suggested a little "coffee house" acoustic to calm the claustrophobic nerves. This lasted about 10 seconds. I lay face down on the table, eased Lefty and Righty into the holes and placed my head into the massage thing that's not a massage thing. Then one of the technicians snapped these massive old school donut headphones around my head like a puffy vice. Seriously, these headphones had to have been from the dawn of headphone time. In one full swoop, I jerked my left arm back and knocked the donut phones clear across the room, nearly taking out the other technician: "That's not helping."

Before we left lunch, Doreen picked up the tab and told me to put my GC away for another day. She also gave me a little box of Godiva chocolates with a heart charm on it. Of course, the heart was Valentines Day-related swag but I plopped it right into my bag of talismen. The chocolates, however, never made it out of the parking garage.

The Seven Songs of the Day -- 2/20/2009

1-Mama said Knock you Out – LL Cool J
2-Gamma Ray -- Beck
3-Anytime at all – Beatles
4-Mother’s Little Helper – Rolling Stones
5-Fix it – Ryan Adams
6-Time After Time (Annelise) – REM
7-Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins

Courtesy of John Larroquette (presumably not this one)


Anonymous said...

Maybe it was "that one".... you never know who's reading your blog. You are an inspiration!
KT Cronin

Dr. Nic said...

Oh my I think I may have a little sag going on in Lefty and Righty in this photo !! I once had a breast MRI and I think I may still be traumatized by the experience. The droopy boob experience in the MRI machine was worse than the mammogram, and the ultrasound fell in between the two !

This post was great. I'm so glad you are sharing this with everyone - its real and honest.

Love you my friend

Roving Lemon said...

Love the images of Doreen bellowing inside the MRI machine and you clocking the tech with the headphones. Let the Beast fear you both and your feistiness.


Anonymous said...

I still have a pair of headphones from *the dawn of headphone time* LOL!