In the words of Stephanie Judith Tanner, on behalf of my growing up Nephew, “How Rude (Aunt Amy)!”

By Aunt Amy


“Oh my gosh! I’m burnin’ up,” exclaimed my nearly-in-sixth-grade nephew. “I’m takin’ off my shirt.”

“Boys can do that,” I, equally hot, replied. “Girls can’t.”

My oldest nephew of 11, the “burnin’ up” boy, was attempting to amaze his little brother of 7 with card tricks. Their little sister aka the youngest of the bunch, kept putting a sparkling sticker on the right side of her nose & telling me she had a nose ring. The three siblings’ Mom & other brother were in the Novi Walmart while we waited in the vehicle with the windows down.

The Tuesday was steamy hot & I relished the heat, savoring every second of summer sunshine till the seasons changed & brought cooler temps & shorter days.

Aunt Amy suggested playing “20 Questions,” which didn’t work out, so the 3 children & I began a game of “Simon Says.”

The youngest brother, an exceedingly smart little guy about to begin grade two, observed his aunt eating a gluten-free chocolate & nuts granola bar – & wasn’t pleased with the image that met his eyes.

Inevitably The Age of the intelligent children around me increases to the time where they recognize my unique health situation (most notably to them the fact that – due to facial paralysis as a side effect of cancer treatment – Aunt Amy eats with her mouth open), & how this observed behavior of mine doesn’t fit in with their early knowledge of what’s considered normal or polite in the modern world.

The almost second grader changed his initial directions playing the role of “Simon” & then followed that up with a command that told me he’s reached The Age:

The 7-year-old directed, “Simon says you don’t have to say anything embarrassing about yourself” & looking straight at me his next words tumbled off his tongue in the same breath

◊ without missing a beat


◊ smooth as butter 

“& please stop chewing with your mouth open.”

The End

P.S. And thanks for the fun day, sis!


Happy Memories!

1 reason I often blog about time with friends is because if my unstable health ever declines to the point of me no longer able to do what I used to, I can click my mouse a few times & fondly look back.

Going through folders today to lessen some papers, I hang on to the best ones like this one that are particularly memorable (& hilarious too):

Back in September ’12, I mentioned to my comically-VERY TALENTED friend Nick about my facial paralysis from cancer treatment & his brilliant reply was:

You should just tell people it’s Botox. . . And then scream for your personal assistant. Maybe carry around a small bell.”

And when I told him about the list “The Top 10 Reasons Why a Bald Head is So Cool” that I wrote as a teenager, hilarious Nick said:

If you need help spinning side effects you just let me know!

Loss of appetite? You’re just a food elitist.

Hair fell out? Never a split end again!

Loss of energy? Wake me when the band gets here!”

Thanks for the happy memories Nick!!!!

My Head, I Said

So the good thing is (Always Look For The Good) my MRI test was finished a shocking 40 minutes from my arrival time at U of M Hospital! Another bonus was really friendly techs who introduced themselves right off the bat, which means they aced, in my book, “Patient Relations 101.”

Of course, an MRI of your head is not for the scaredy cat or claustrophobic person. With my head strapped in a cage to make it immobile, in addition to yellow earplugs & headphones on top of that, I couldn’t help but mentally bully myself for a little fun while stuck in the machine.

You’re not coming out, you’re stuck here forever, the lights and power might go out and you’ll be left alone trapped in this position where you can’t get out, your legs are hanging out of the machine so they might cut them off or light them on fire, are monumentally morbid thoughts I told myself just to help pass the time while Gavin DeGraw, John Mayer, Adele, & similar artists crooned through the headphones on either side of my head. Hey, don’t judge, to each their own.

MRI Tips:

  1. Remove any metal from your body because it’s not compatible with an MRI machine – specifically things like belts with metal buckles, bras with metal clasps, earrings & other metal jewelry
  2. If you’re in the same boat as me & despise wearing hospital gowns, wear 100% cotton clothing instead
  3. My advice is to stay calm & avoid pressing the ball they put in your hand – in case of anxiety – before rolling you into the machine; that way the test goes by faster if you never interrupt the test & comply with directions


Tumor Humor

In the elevator at the University of Michigan Hospital going up to the floor of my doctor appointment after my blood draw this morning, I backed up still facing forward into the left corner, or tried to at least – RIGHT INTO a young man! He said something to let me know he was there but by that time I’d unfortunately already started to step onto & smash his feet. I felt so stupid & embarrassed that I didn’t turn around to look at him but made sure to look straight ahead the remainder of our ride. I call that incident “Mortified to the MAX.”

We ran into Annie, who supervises Mott phlebotomy labs & we haven’t seen in years, leaving blood draw. It’s hard to get through the hospital quickly because we inevitably get stopped or stop to talk to people we know a lot – 19 years (of being a cancer patient) will do that to ya.

My fabulous Dr. Yanik was primarily concerned about my long ongoing headache. From him I learned that patients 10 to 15 years out of cancer treatment similar to what I’ve had often develop in their heads fairly harmless Meningioma tumors (online says it’s a “usually noncancerous tumor that arises from the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord”). I’m not worried in the least. Apparently on the chance that a Meningioma Tumor turns out to be the culprit of my nonstop aching head, Dr. Yanik said it’s usually located close to the edge of the head & is therefore easily operable.

“OH MY GOSH!” I screamed as I flung off my white hat. “I’m going to lose my hair!!!!”

My clearly amused & impressed with my lighthearted attitude doctor put his hand out for a high five for that one.

Let me set the scene real quick for these next 2 videos: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character plays an undercover cop who’s teaching kindergarten for the first time in his life in the film “Kindergarten Cop,” & says he has a headache. A little boy fascinated with death comments that it could be from a tumor. My favorite line in the movie comes from Arnold in his thick accent when he replies “It’s not a tumah.”


I have an MRI scheduled for this evening to see what in fact’s going on. As I’m typing this up on my cell on the drive home, my Mom had a good point. She commented how after us being in this cancer experience for so long, neither of us are ruffled at all to hear my latest medical news. She said in the car (referring back to the interaction between the 2 of us a few minutes earlier while leaving the appointment):

“You know you’ve been on this journey too long when after hearing the news of a possible brain tumor you chuckle and look at your Mom and say ‘Ha! Maybe I’ll get to see Jesus before you do!'”

Then we shared a hearty laugh & headed home for lunch. I’ll have scrumptious Spanish Cheese baked on pita bread sprinkled with oregano, garlic powder, salt & olive oil, dipped in garlic paste, mmm-mmm!