Friday, February 03, 2012

Some Promises Are Hard To Keep

All the photos in this post are by Janet aka fondofsnape.

You may remember that last year some people died. Not the got sick or old and people told you not to waste your time with them and then they passed away and we all had a party in their honor. Instead it was the kind where you're minding your own business running errands or working on your singing voice and your phone makes a funny noise and suddenly your world just got a little bit smaller. Somewhere in the middle of all that I got mad, which is fine because it's one of the stages of grief, you can look it up. I posted here in a tone both huffy and pitiful that everyone I know had to promise not to freaking die that year. Sadly I have no idea when I did that so I haven't linked to it.

People were very nice of course and said comforting things and it was lovely and it made me feel hopeful. Then Janet chimed in and said, basically and in the nicest way, "I'll do the best I can." At which point I cried.

You see, Janet and I met because she was in danger of dying. Back when the Women's Colony was alive and well Mrs. G announced one day that her friend Janet would be writing a series about her fight with cancer. I somehow missed the first post about her diagnosis but got caught up in the rest of the weekly tales of chemo and radiation and techs named Hiney.

The Colony dissolved and I kept up with the photo challenges and somewhere in there I realized that the Flickr handle, fondofsnape, was Janet. Same woman who told us about radiation burns on the butt was the photographer who worked a Jack Sparrow figurine into a number of crazy photo prompts. She was the almost always first to enter a shot and she's a dog lover with two dogs of her own, and she was commenting on my blog, too. At this point the conversations became a little more two sided because I finally knew who the hell I was talking to. Sometimes I am way too confused by the internet. I'll get there but you have to give me a while.

The other thing is, Janet is a good New England girl. So am I. I find I'm drawn to those women a lot. The men, too, but it rarely works out as well. So we recognize a lot of the places the other one photographs, too, and it feels like we've sat down and had tea. We haven't. Not for lack of trying but it hasn't worked out. Yet.

In all those conversations, though, the cancer journey has fallen by the wayside. Certainly at the point at which I demanded an unreasonable promise from everyone I knew we hadn't talked about it in a while. It's cancer, though, so it's always there, even when I try to pretend it isn't. I replied to her comment and thanked her for her effort and tried to make light of it but I thought about it a lot.

Then it snowed on Halloween and Queen Bee came for Thanksgiving and I forgot all about it.

Early this year it all came back to me and I thought, "I need to thank Janet." Then I thought, "That's weird. Isn't it weird? What's she going to think about that?" You know what I did then? Radical move. I asked her. She was fine with it. We had a nice talk and she sent me links to the original Women's Colony posts that she's now republished on her own blog and I read them and I cried. It was all good until the post about the therapy dog.

So, before I link you up to those fabulous posts, a few things. Thank you, Janet, for contributing your fabulous photos regularly and generously to the photo challenges. Thank you for sticking with my blog. Thank you for forgiving me for not finding your blog until last week (still so sorry about being that stupid).  Thank you for sharing your cancer journey story and being so candid about something a lot of us wouldn't know anything about, even if we had known people with cancer. Thank most of all, though, for living. I promise I didn't realize at the time what a tall order it was but I do know that, as things have gotten scary at the beginning of 2012, I have appreciated you taking me seriously even more than I thought I would.

Thank you.


Quick explanation before I get to the links. When the Colony went down it was a quick process to grab our work off the site. I know that I basically copied and pasted the text and I think that's what Janet did, too. So, you may notice places where she refers to links or photos and those haven't made the transition. Just keep reading, it'll still make sense.

This is about the initial diagnosis. I like that she refers to it as "the day that Farrah Fawcett died" because Farrah got shafted that day, too.
In the first update we find out about the chemo bag.
In the second update we find out that True Blood has healing properties.
The third update is about crying but it's not the one that made me cry. Your mileage may vary.
Johnny Depp makes an appearance in the fourth update.
There is percoset and burning pee in the fifth update. Also, a vaginal dilator and the therapy dog that made me cry.
The sixth update teaches us about post-colostomy bodies and side effects that force you to wear oven mitts to take things out of the freezer.
In this bonus story, we hear about "Brown Friday." That guy she mentions? That's her boyfriend. No, she didn't have a boyfriend before she was diagnosed but she did by the time treatment was finished. Role model.


For each photographer that enters photographs into the FUCK CANCER photo challenge by Tuesday February 14 I will donate $5 to Planned Parenthood and $5 to Think Before You Pink/Breast Cancer Action. Simply upload your photo to Flickr (you can get a free account if you need one), join our Photo Group, add your shot and your donation has been made! If you want a gold star please tag the photo with PhotoChallenge and FUCKCANCER (or CANCER if you're not thrilled about the language).


  1. thank you so much for this! I shared it with some folks, and while they didn't leave a comment here, they did reply to my email. I'm sorry you didn't get more comments, tho :-(

    And thanks, smalltownme!!!

  2. Sometimes the world seems small. I can't remember how I "met" Janet - but I feel like she's related somehow. Nice to find that you're connected to her too.

  3. Magpie :-) I feel that way, too!