The One Not There Next Year

The annual Living Beyond Breast Cancer Thriving Together Conference, for people with metastatic breast cancer, is happening next month. The 2015 conference is where I met so many of my favorite metsters, and where the very first MBC Die-In happened. I met even more of my favorite metsters at the 2016 conference last year. It’s a fantastic event, life-changing really, and I highly recommend it. If it’s at all feasible for you to go, don’t think, just go!

I really want to be there this year. I keep trying to come up with ways to make it happen given my health situation–The Hubs said he could maybe come along so I have someone to push the wheelchair and haul the luggage and take me back to the room when I’m too tired to participate anymore. But the further I get into chemo, the more I realize it’s probably not feasible for me to fly all the way across the country and expect to be able to do anything other than lay in bed for 3 days.

Yesterday I went to see The Girl’s first dance recital–she’s in a class for preschoolers called Creative Ballet, and the show was ADORABLE–and had to spend the rest of the day laying down. The other time I’ve gotten out of the house since chemo? Thursday I spoke at a press conference on Trump’s #deathbudget and how the cuts to NIH will literally kill me. Both outings required my wheelchair because I couldn’t have walked as far as I would have needed to in order to participate. After Thursday, I spent the next 48 hours entirely in bed other than to pee. Both outings were COMPLETELY WORTH IT. If we don’t keep advocating for us, we’ll all die. If I wasn’t at The Girl’s dance recital, knowing the next one isn’t until next year…well, I never would have forgiven myself.

I think sometimes people don’t realize just how physically limited I am right now. When I say I’m not capable of flying across the country, I’m not looking for suggestions for how I might be able to go–I’ve thought up every idea there is already, believe me. I actually mean I’m not physically able to make the trip. (Hey LBBC: I so so so wish the mets conference was more centrally located instead of in Philly. A 3 hour flight I might be able to do. And it’d cost less too!) LBBC’s conference is right up there with the dance recital and a press conference in terms of importance to me. If it were possible, I’d be there.

Every year, there’s someone who was at last year’s conference who’s not there the next year. There will be a lot of friends of mine who won’t be there this year because they’ve died. I cry whenever I think of any one of them–the thought of all of them not being there this year causes me physical pain. Every year I leave the conference, I go to the airport, sit in a bathroom stall, and bawl, wondering which one of my friends, old or new, will be the one who’s not there next year? Which one will I never see again, because they’re too sick to travel, or worse?

Last year at the conference, one of my friends had just gotten some news of progression, and she cried and said “I’m the one who’s not going to be here next year.” And I hugged her and told her that I will always love her, whether she’s here or not. Now it’s looking like she might be the one to be there this year, and I’ll be the one who isn’t. If I’m not there, which of my friends will I never get to see again? Which will never get to see me again?

Worst Wife Ever Moment: March Madness

Hello, my name is Beth, and I’m a college basketball addict. I get a little twitchy when the season is over as I go through withdrawal. And when the season starts back up again, I’m giddy, but not even remotely as giddy as I am when the tournaments begin. For those not in the know, we call tournament time March Madness. This is when I go on a college basketball bender.

I became an addict in college, when I was in the pep band. (I played the flute. Next question: do you still play? I mean in theory I still could, but I haven’t in a looooooooong time, so I’m guessing my skill level at this point would be somewhere around middle school band.) Being in the pep band means you’re part of a Band Family that spends a ton of time together and has all the drama and love that a real family has. It also means you go to a zillllllllllllion basketball games with your Band Family. So, a lot of my favorite memories from college involve watching basketball, both women’s and men’s games. Which means there’s all sorts of positive emotions that I associate with college basketball, which of course feeds my addiction.

Right now we’re really just at the start of my bender. It’s Championship Week, when each of the college sports conferences has their championships. Today The Hubs took The Kids to Emerald City Comicon, so I’ve spent most of the day watching women’s basketball games, including watching West Virginia upset Texas in the Big 12 semifinal. I’ve been a West Virginia fan since college, because lots of folks from our band were friends with folks from the WVU band. So, anytime West Virginia is playing against a team that isn’t from a school I attended, I root for them. It was rad watching those two teams battle it out right up to the end of that game. AND, I loved that their Mountaineer mascot at that game was a woman.

I’ll be honest: this is an addiction I have no intention of recovering from. I intend to spend every March for the rest of my life trying to convince my kids to get into college basketball, and if they don’t, well, I guess that means that The Hubs is going to have to do some serious single parenting on game days. And during March, almost every day is a game day.

A good example: last night was the Duke-UNC game, a huge rivalry game. I camped out on the couch with some cheese fries (that The Hubs made) and a glass of wine (that The Hubs poured me) and watched the game. When The Girl asked me to play princess play doh with her, I was like “I’m watching the game, want to watch it with me?” And of course she’s like “Uh, no, I want to play princess play doh” and I’m like “Then ask Daddy to play with you because I’m watching the game.” Which meant that Daddy got to play with a prince made out of play doh. Did I mention he also made dinner for everyone?

Poor guy. 

At least I’ve managed to get The Boy interested in basketball. He plays some, including in an afterschool club, so I’m excited to see if I can get him to switch from being obsessed with the NFL to being obsessed with college basketball. I like watching football, I guess, but I really need someone to dig on college basketball with me. The Girl says she’s really not into sports, which makes me so sad because she’s probably gonna be tall, so imagine what a great basketball player she could be! Le sigh. So, it’s all about The Boy right now. He’s agreed to watch the Selection Sunday show with me next weekend and to fill out a bracket.

Which gave me a great idea: why not encourage my fellow college basketball addicts to be come Worst Wives/Husbands Ever and obsess over the Big Dance with me? So, here’s that you’re gonna do: Download the ESPN Tournament Challenge App and sign up and create a bracket. (It’ll be blank for now because there we won’t know who’s in the tournament until Selection Sunday. If you sign up after Selection Sunday, you can work on your bracket right away.) Then, there’s a link that says “Create/Join Group”and you want to click on that, and then search for Brackets With Beth and join our group.

Is there a prize for whoever wins? No, because I’m cheap. But apparently if you do well compared to everyone else on the ESPN app, ESPN will give you some sort of prize? I have zero shot of winning that–I couldn’t even win my office pool, let alone a pool that includes the entire country–so I haven’t event looked at what the prize/s is/are.

Now go turn on your TV and watch some college basketball, and make your spouse take care of the kids!